By: Betty Brewer—
Muncie, IN—The Muncie Action Plan spent 2019 working to address the issues identified by the community during the MAP3 planning process. MAP’s five task forces have focused their efforts on Linking Learning, Health, and Prosperity (TF1), Fostering Collaboration (TF2), Strengthening Muncie’s Pride and Image (TF3), Creating Attractive and Desirable Places (TF4), and Managing Community Resources (TF5). As we start a brand-new year, we would like to share our successes as we approach our Annual Community Meeting on January 28th at Muncie Central High School from 5:30-7:30 PM. This is the fourth of five reports from our task force leaders.
MAP continues to advocate for improving the physical appearance of our community, aligning elements of Task Forces 2, 3, 4, and 5. In 2019, work continued on the Kitselman Trailhead, the core component of the new eastern gateway to the city of Muncie. The Trailhead entered its second phase of construction with the placement of a pedestrian bridge across the White River, as well as some new trail connections and trailhead parking. The pedestrian bridge is the restored Albany Bridge that connects the White River Greenway to the Cardinal Greenway. The placement of the basic superstructure had quite an attentive audience last spring. Although measurements had been taken and checked twice (at least) by the engineers, there was a collective release of breath when everything clicked into place – not too short; not too long. The flooring of the bridge is expected to be built in 2020.
In partnership with the City of Muncie, the Muncie Arts and Culture Council expanded Box! Box!, a public art program. Begun in 2018, artists submitted proposals for painting traffic control boxes throughout the city, turning drab grey metal into vibrant works of art. Community members enjoyed watching these works of art come to life and engaging with the artists as they worked. You can meet these artists at: http://munciearts.org/boxbox/. MACC plans to continue this community engagement project in 2020 by seeking corporate sponsorships to support the associated expenses.
Another milestone was met under Task Force 4’s initiative to expand blight removal when the Muncie Land Bank received funds to hire a consultant to establish policies and procedures for the non-profit to acquire, maintain, and market some vacant properties. The Land Bank also received its federal tax-exempt status in 2019 and is currently conducting a search for an executive director. The mission of the Muncie Land Bank is to “acquire abandoned and blighted property, preserve it, and provide it to the public for strategic redevelopment.” This work closely aligns with MAP Task Forces 2, 4, and 5.
Task Force 4 will continue to shine a light on the many organizations that do tremendous work in our community with Creating Attractive and Desirable Places.
Related articles in this series are below.