Words like collaboration, hope, and unity were expressed by attendees at Wednesday, January 9th’s Report to the Community in response to the question, “What words do you want to describe Muncie’s future?”
Let’s celebrate the successes of 2018:
Task Force 1: Linking Learning, Health, and Prosperity:
Most of Task Force 1’s efforts have been channeled through Muncie BY5, a non-profit that serves to transform our community by connecting Kindergarten readiness to economic success. Some 2018 highlights include:
- 2018 Lilly Early Learning Champion Award: At the 2018 Statewide summit for Early Childhood, BY5 received the Community Early Learning Champion Award from Eli Lilly. The award honored BY5’s commitment to early childhood—both locally and as a shining example of collaborative work across the state. BY5 received the award from a pool of seven contenders.
- Muncie Community Schools (MCS) Preschool Classes: All MCS preschool classrooms are now high-quality, Paths-to-Quality Level 3 Centers. These classrooms at Grissom, South View, East Washington Academy, and Muncie Area Career Center meet high-quality standards for instruction and curriculum. The quality rating gives children who attend a better chance at starting elementary school ready to learn. Much of 2018’s progress resulted from the preschool partnership between BY5, Muncie Community Schools, George & Frances Ball Foundation, & Huffer CCRR.
- Early Literacy Programs: BY5 saw success in the growth of early literacy programs. BY5 continues to develop and advocate for early literacy in Delaware County. In 2018, the BY5 Little Free Library Network grew to 38 completed Libraries. Over 2,300 books were given away throughout the community. 2018 saw the establishment of the Book Patrol program, a partnership with the Daleville Police Department and the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department where police officers give away free books as they ride out on patrol.
Task Force 2: Fostering Collaboration
Task Force 2 had an exciting year in 2018. Last year’s successes include:
- Seven neighborhood projects were supported by a Ball Brothers Foundation Rapid Grant and the Prosperity IN award. Building Better Neighborhoods was awarded the “Key Award for Service Program of the Year 2017.”
- The 2018 IDEA Conference brought together over 130 Muncie residents committed to neighborhood development and community building.
- The July Summer Pool Party saw a record number of residents attend to celebrate the successes of Muncie’s neighborhood associations.
- Building Better Neighborhoods was awarded $20,000 in funding to install neighborhood signage in the city’s low to moderate income neighborhoods through the the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program. The installation will occur during the summer of 2019.
- United Way Day of Action brought BSU students and community residents out to both clean the Anthony/Northside neighborhood and to cut and paint boards for abandoned homes in the 8Twelve Coalition area.
- Task Force 2 partnered on eight training sessions focused on neighborhood association leadership development, in addition to Candidates of the Future and Donuts and Deficits.
Task Force 3: Strengthening Pride & Image
In 2018, Task Force 3 facilitated:
- Two Washington Street Bridge Dinners during the months of April and September. Over 600 people attended each of these bridge dinners. Several community groups partnered together for enjoy local food, drinks, crafts, and music.
- Increased free cultural activities at Canan Commons, Minnetrista, and Ball State University.
- Continued beautification efforts that include the Riggin Roundabout, Chadam Lane Landscaping, a new White River Overlook at Martin St., and the connection of Ball State University to White River Blvd. Community Enhancement Projects (CEP) Inc. and other community partners have played large roles in these beautification achievements.
Task Force 4: Creating Attractive & Desirable Places
Highlights under Task Force 4 include:
- Community-wide beautification efforts occurred throughout 2018. Muncie’s 2nd Annual Beautification Month in May began with a clean-up program along McGalliard Road thanks to a partnership between MAP, Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful (MDCB), and Muncie Neighborhoods. Ball State athletes and other community members cleaned up both sides of the highway from the McGalliard Walmart to Meijer. MDCB also sponsored additional clean-ups which included the 10th Annual White River Clean-Up and a pre-ArtsWalk Downtown Clean-Up.
- Muncie Land Bank, Inc. filed for not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) status from the IRS in 2018. Muncie Land Bank is led by Dr. John West of Ball State University and other officers appointed by representatives of local units of government. Its mission is “to acquire abandoned and blighted property, preserve it, and provide it to the public for strategic redevelopment.”
- Since the first demolition in 2016, the Muncie Blight Elimination Program has demolished approximately 150 blighted houses throughout the city. 2018 continued to see the return of blighted or abandoned properties to productive and beneficial use thanks to the frequent collaborations among community organizations to re-build homes, construct pocket parks, and plant community gardens and orchards.
- The Muncie Arts & Culture Council launched Box! Box!, a program that will improve the appearance of many traffic boxes throughout Muncie. Traffic boxes around the city have been designed and decorated in 2018 and will continue on for several years.
Task Force 5: Managing Community Resources
Task Force 5 saw 2018 successes in the following areas:
- The Bike/Pedestrian Plan was completed, a detailed document that inventories the condition of Muncie’s sidewalks and bike lanes and provides steps for improvement.
- The intersection of Wheeling, Neely, and Minnetrista Pkwy was striped for bike and pedestrian traffic.
- Specialty bike racks were installed at various locations in downtown Muncie.
- Phase 1 of the Kitselman Gateway project has reached about 75% completion.
2019 will continue this momentum!