On December 7th, Muncie Action Plan (MAP) will be hosting their bi-annual community meeting. For those of you not familiar with MAP here is a brief summary of how it began and where it is today.
Muncie Action Plan could best be defined as “Creating the first city-wide Action Plan”. beginning in the summer of 2009 with funding from various sources and presentations from three different companies, ACP Visioning+Planning, Columbus, Ohio was awarded the contract.
The next year would be a whirlwind of public meetings, presentations, and ideas presented until the final plan was completed and presented to the public. There was some negativity in the public forums of the local newspaper, but it didn’t seem to deter the plan from moving forward. Our local newspaper did a fine job of reporting the progress and updating the public.
Some would say this was a waste of money, time and effort. Other plans had failed and this one would also. I disagreed as Muncie isn’t just a place with buildings and infrastructure, but a living, breathing organism. The residents are the heartbeat of the city, we make the city what it is. I had the good fortune to be completely ignorant of any previous plans the city may have tried. To me, this was an excellent idea, and so I supported it from the start.
The Muncie Action Plan has five initiatives, and within the five initiatives are 47 actions.
- Linking Learning, Health, and Prosperity
- Fostering Collaborations
- Strengthening Pride and Image
- Creating Attractive and Desirable Places
- Managing Community Resources
Nestled within the five initiatives, you will find diverse and well-rounded “actions” to include. not limited to:
- Developing a Uniform Code of Ethics
- Developing the Downtown
- Blight removal
- Renovating Tuhey Pool
- Implementing the Prairie Creek Master Plan
- Early Childhood Development
The downtown has grown into a warm and inviting place (a far cry from the dull, dirty and dingy place it was 20 years ago) and a master plan is in the works. If it is as successful and fast paced as MAP, Muncie’s downtown will become more vibrant, more inviting, more events, more shops!
We have seen more blighted properties removed, and creative ways to salvage and recycle the materials. This has been a defining moment for the “war on blight”.
Within two years Muncie has begun to see the fruit of MAP’s’ labor. Just this summer we saw the reopening of Tuhey Pool. If you were unable to be at the grand opening day, it was a wonderful sight. The pool is beautiful and is an asset to our community.
Prairie Creek Reservoir has just received a $150,000.00 grant to expand the Cardinal Greenway. All part of the Master Plan.
Early Childhood Development, which is a long-term “action” has been extremely active. Delaware County’s Vision 2016 Economic Plan, which includes early childhood development will partner with Muncie Action Plan. The following are excerpts from the Muncie Star Press (5-21-11) on Vision 2016 and the importance of early education for our children.
“You have to start somewhere,” Mayor Sharon McShurley told The Star Press. “U.S. high school students rank 24th out of 30 developed countries in math and science.” McShurley cited a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that maintained, for every dollar invested in early childhood education for children birth through age 5, “savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead.”
Economist Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, gave the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce high marks for including early childhood education.
“Researchers have known for a long time that this was important,” Hicks said. “Few small or mid-sized communities (like ours) have yet to incorporate it into their planning, so in that respect they are progressive.”
Ray Montagno, a professor of marketing at Ball State who led the Vision 2016 sessions, said early childhood education was added to the plan because “it sends a message we take this seriously and it adds long-term value to the community.”
Cincinnati, OH began a similar program “Success by 6” over 10 years ago, and MAP was privileged to attend a presentation in October. From what I gleaned, it was very exciting and everyone came back full of enthusiasm at Cincinnati’s progress and success.
I hope you will agree, Muncie Action Plan has been good for our city. If we have seen this much Action within two years, imagine what else can be obtained.
From a citizen’s view of Muncie Action Plan.
Please plan to attend.Date: December 7th, 2011 Time: 5:30 PM Place: Minnetrista 1200 N. Minnetrisa Parkway ~ Muncie