By Marta Moody—
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Muncie Action Plan (MAP) spent much of 2021 in partnership with representatives from Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission and NEXT Muncie surveying Muncie’s citizens and working with the urban planning firm czb in the development of the new Strategic Investment Plan for the City of Muncie.
The last large-scale MAP planning took place in 2009 and although two updates have been completed since, we are excited to put into place the newest large-scale engagement effort where Muncie’s residents helped create a new vision for Muncie’s growth and investment.
As we close out this year, we would like to share MAP’s successes as we approach our Annual Community Meeting on January 26th that will be both open for the public to join online (click here to register) and streamed on Facebook Live. Each of our five task forces will share the work completed during 2021. This is the fifth and final report from our task force leaders.
Muncie Action Plan’s Task Force 5: Managing Community Resources
From the beginning, Task Force 5 action items have focused on support for projects and activities carried out by various city departments and other non-profit organizations. In 2021, work continued on Phase 3 of the Kitselman Gateway project involving design and engineering of the realignment of the Cardinal Greenway on the west side of the river. Previous phases included placement of the historic metal bridge and the extension of the White River Greenway on the east side of the river.
This multi-faceted project promotes the following Task Force 5 action items: Support a Brownfields Redevelopment Program; Support bike-friendly community programs; and Encourage development of a sidewalk and recreational paths plan. Additional bike and pedestrian related activities include work on design of the Riverside trail and of the major city-wide sidewalk installation project – both of which should go to construction in 2022.
Task Force 5 also promotes implementation of the Prairie Creek Master Plan. The City of Muncie continues to move forward with enhancing Prairie Creek Park including upgrading facilities and new identification and directional signage that will promote the park as a regional asset.
A new action item, added with MAP 3, was support of the Muncie Land Bank. Over the course of 2021, the Land Bank continued to see significant progress. There were 26 properties that were sold and there are an additional 34 properties that are in the process – some listed for sale, some involved in closing and some still under review. The mission of the Muncie Land Bank, Inc. is to acquire abandoned and blighted property, preserve it, and provide it to the public for strategic redevelopment. The acquired properties can be viewed on the website www.muncielandbank.org .
For most of the TF 5 action items, MAP’s role is one of support, encouragement and promotion. The one action that has become a direct MAP activity deals with creating a Muncie energy office and advisory committee. In early 2020, MAP’s TF 5 convened a new Planet Muncie Committee whose mission was to incorporate sustainability initiatives. In the spring of 2021, Muncie City Council adopted a resolution recognizing the importance of climate change and the need for a climate action plan. In the fall of 2021, a graduate assistant began work, along with the Planet Muncie Committee, to create a Muncie Climate Action Plan that is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2022.
Throughout 2021, MAP was involved in the TogetherDM initiative aimed at creating a new Comprehensive Plan for Muncie and Delaware County along with a new Muncie Strategic Investment Plan which would become the next MAP guidebook. The 3 key elements presented in TogetherDM all have direct ties to Task Force 5 actions since they include enhancing quality of life, improving housing conditions & options, and promoting opportunities for upward mobility.
Related links in this series can be found below.