By Mike Rhodes, Editor-in-Chief, MuncieJournal.com—
MUNCIE, IN—”The state of the city is strong.”
That’s from the Honorable Mayor Dan Ridenour during his 3rd State of the City presentation. Mayor Ridenour gave a positive overview of the accomplishments his administration has made in the areas of finances, public safety and infrastructure. The event was held at the Ball State University Alumni Center.
Ball Brothers Foundation CEO, Judd Fisher introduced the mayor prior to the mayor’s one hour presentation. Mayor Ridenour’s Powerpoint™ slides were well-done and operated very smoothly and without incident throughout his presentation—something that doesn’t happen all that often during executive meetings I’ve attended.
Ridenour began his report by reviewing past and present finances. “First of all, there were a lot of financial challenges,” Mayor Ridenour said. “When we came in, we discovered there were 18 negative accounts that totaled $3.3 million. Ridenour said the mayor’s EDIT fund checking account was overdrawn by $250,000 and the Road and Streets account was overdrawn by $1.9 million. Mayor Ridenour said he understood the roads around town are not “ideal.” There have been some improvements and more plans are in place to help move the city forward in that regard.
The mayor said he tried to reach out to state government, and asked if the city could pay back those overdrawn monies over time, but state government said no.
The mayor said when he took office, the Muncie Redevelopment Commission’s (MRC) debt was $58,393,270.00. Now it is $52,832,234. The mayor said his administration lowered the debt through the MRC by $5.56 million. “We’re very proud of that, he said, and I want to thank our comptroller, Craig Wright, and deputy comptroller Matt Wagley.”
Housing and Public Safety
The mayor ran through the various housing projects and developments going on in Muncie.
Ridenour discussed projects that either started construction in 2020, completed in 2020, 21, 22, or ones that are in the process. He said Muncie has 270 housing units that are “either already open or will soon to be open.” The mayor said, “Some of these are workforce housing, some of them are affordable housing which is income based, and some are market.” He said the projects are spread throughout the city and fit well into the TogetherDM plan.
Ridenour said, “We’ve got 270 new units that are either already open or will soon to be open in our city. And that provides opportunities for people who are thinking about leaving to stay here because of the opportunity. Or for people who are already working here to move here rather than drive an hour each way.”
The mayor discussed the recent announcement about the Muncie Crisis Center. You can learn about that project at this MuncieJournal.com story.
Ridenour introduced an artists rendition of the re-imagining of the fire station on Tillotson Avenue. The other fire station to receive improvements will be the one located on MLK Blvd.
The mayor highlighted the improvements at Beech Grove cemetery under the leadership of Troy Watters.
The mayor said, “Troy’s been a master at this…and this is a council only board, but the funding…budget…all of that ends up through the city.
Ridenour said over 730,000 tons of new sand has been added to the Prairie Creek beach and that beginning this summer, using the beach will be FREE. The mayor also said that new for this year, they will be installing new “floating boat structures.” Instead of all dock’s going all along the bank, there will be these floating structures that will be easier for the city to maintain. More bank space will be also be available for fishing.
“I can say with full confidence that we are better off today, financially, than were were in 2019. I can say with full confidence that we have more housing options than we did in 2019. I can say with full confidence that we are moving in a positive direction. I am 100% positive that we have a strong State of the City.” — Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour
The mayor ended his presentation by saying, “My name is Dan Ridenour. I am your mayor and I am thankful that you allowed me to serve you.”
You may view the entire one-hour video presentation on the City of Muncie’s Facebook page.