I’ve met with several homeowners in Sunset Knoll, Johnson Circle, and other areas surrounding the former Storer Elementary School (my alma mater) with concerns about the future of that property. The building is currently being demolished, which has led to questions and uneasiness from the families that live there.
In the past week, I’ve had multiple conversations with city officials concerning this site. I’m in agreement with most in the neighborhood about the need for a green space and discussed that with Mayor Dennis Tyler and Muncie Redevelopment Commission Director Todd Donati. I’ve been personally assured by both that there are currently no development plans for the property and it will be up to the next administration to determine its fate.
The parcel is 18.5 acres, which is larger than Muncie’s Westside Park. That is a lot of land and it could become a beautiful addition to Muncie, particularly in an area that has a lack of public parks. Make no mistake about it, though, there would be a hefty price tag to come along with building a multi-use park of that size, and I don’t believe we can lean on tax dollars alone to take on a project like this. As your city council representative, it would be my responsibility to both my constituents in the 2nd district and the public at-large to explore private funding opportunities and partnerships to make such a park a reality. Fortunately, my professional experience gives me a leg up in that pursuit.
If the full vision of a large multi-use green space can’t be realized, we can still ensure that any development of the property includes a new park. 6.5 acres of land falls in a flood plain and cannot be developed for housing purposes, if that were the route the next administration and MRC opted to take. The MRC has the authority to set conditions for any development of the site, and I have been told by Mr. Donati that he would be in favor of dictating a green space which could include walking trails and other amenities from any developer who wanted to build on that site, and it would be built at that developer’s expense.
I want to work with the next Mayor to make a green space in that neighborhood – whatever form it may take – a reality. I will also seek input from residents in the area to ensure that whatever solution arises enhances their neighborhood in the most positive way possible.
The people of the 2nd district deserve to have their voices heard and be a part of the planning process for the future of this property. As your next City Councilperson, I will fight to make that happen.
(Photo Credit: Jordan Kartholl; The Star Press)