By: Muncie Action Plan—
Muncie, Indiana— On the 10th anniversary of Muncie Action Plan (MAP), the organization is going back to its roots and partnering with Next Muncie to facilitate another broad scale intensive community feedback and planning process. The announcement of the partnership was made at MAP’s annual community presentation on January 28th by MAP President Jenni Marsh and Next Muncie Co-Chairs Jeff Bird and Geoff Mearns.
“The Muncie Action Plan board took a hard look at all the great work happening in our community and what the next steps for MAP should be. We looked at other organizations who are community change agents who might want to partner with us to do the work going forward,” Marsh explained at the announcement.
MAP is a grassroots organization—using community members’ thoughts, ideas and feedback to inform plans for how to enhance the city of Muncie. Currently, in its tenth year, MAP is on its third community action plan. The plan is broken down into five task forces who collectively manage 27 community-identified action items.
Next Muncie is a group of city leaders pondering what’s next for Muncie and leveraging their positions and relationships to accelerate growth and improvement for the city’s center. Their efforts dovetail into the city’s existing strengths, injecting new life into blighted and inactive parts of central city, and increasing connectivity between Muncie’s medical and educational assets with downtown, the greenway and cultural assets.
“Together, we are going to work on the NEXT Muncie Action Plan—capturing people’s input and assimilating it into a plan that will be a springboard for continued growth, collaboration, beautification, and positive outcomes for the people of Muncie,” Marsh explained.
Next Muncie is focused on the community’s next era of prosperity with a focus on attracting and retaining residents by providing high-quality employment opportunities, revitalized neighborhoods, healthy lifestyle choices, and an innovative culture of entrepreneurship as highlighted by educational, healthcare, arts, entertainment and recreational opportunities. At the helm of this effort, maximizing the connectivity of the city’s two largest employers—IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and Ball State University, are President of the IU Health East Central Region Jeff Bird and President of Ball State University Geoff Mearns.
“We are very excited about this partnership with MAP,” said Next Muncie Co-Chair Jeff Bird.
“This is an opportunity to really accelerate our work with central city by capturing the community’s hopes for Muncie and connecting the dots between Next Muncie’s growing synergy with MAP’s deeply-developed plans.”
Next Muncie Co-Chair Geoff Mearns agreed. “We see this collaboration with MAP as an exciting opportunity to bring the community’s voice into Next Muncie’s efforts to help accelerate and prioritize the economic development and neighborhood revitalization projects that will transform our city, and build on our quality of place—which is intrinsically linked to attracting and retaining those who are early in their careers.”
Each organization has appointed three individuals to lead the plan development process. From Muncie Action Plan, Donna Browne, Mitch Isaacs and Heather Williams will serve. From Next Muncie, Mayor Dan Ridenour, Kelly Shrock, and Vicki Veach will serve. The two organizations will hire a consultant to lead the process. Then, they will promote opportunities for the greater community input and engagement.