The Beautification initiative relates to the MAP Initiative 4, “Creating Attractive and Desirable Places.” Action 8 of this initiative is called “Strengthen Code Enforcement” and was created to improve and maintain the attractiveness of Muncie’s neighborhoods. Maintaining the RNC’s attractiveness will increase the desirability of living in Muncie and the neighborhood. This initiative also relates specifically to Action 9, “Promote and Expand Community-based Neighborhood Enhancement Programs.” Currently a few neighborhood enhancement programs exist and could strengthen RNC’s beauty. Figure 1 shows an existing community garden located behind Riverside United Methodist Church.
Why this is important
During the first neighborhood meeting, residents expressed concern for the neighborhood’s appearance. These concerns grew into the beautification initiative. Residents and students voted for this initiative to be a high priority. RNCNA can start with this initiative, knowing that it is very important to the neighborhood.
This initiative strives to increase residents’ pride in their neighborhood, creating a more appealing place to live and allowing residents to work alongside their neighbors. Working together to beautify the city is vital to building a stronger community. After residents help beautify their neighborhood they have more pride in where they live.
During the two World Wars, Muncie was known for feeding its residents with local gardens. By the end of World War I, Muncie had over 7,000 gardens that were maintained by residents. Bringing community gardens back will allow RNC residents to work together just like they did almost 100 years ago.
What this will involve
First, the RNCNA will need to create an organization that connects residents who can assist neighbors with landscaping and exterior maintenance projects. This organization could also work with Tuhey Park and Emerson Dog Park to add and maintain landscaping. Once a year RNC residents could join together for a community Beautification Day, which could include litter removal and potting soil donations. Residents who cannot perform or afford manual labor would be assisted. A free concert that accepts donations could help fund the Beautification Day.
Second, RNC could plant new gardens around the neighborhood. Community gardens add more vegetation to neighborhoods and could provide food for residents. Planting participants will learn gardening skills to use on their personal property. Through its Urban Garden Initiative, Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful have planted at least 10 community gardens in the Muncie community. Working with Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful, RNC residents could create their own gardens. The American Community Gardening Association presents information on funding resources and planting a successful community garden. A number of RNC vacant lots could easily be used for gardens. A committee of a few residents would be in charge of organizing this step.
Third, this program could encourage residents to report any infrastructure issues existing in their part of the neighborhood. These issues include, but are not limited to, weed violations, cracked sidewalks, fallen tree limbs, poor housing conditions, and flooding and overflowing sewer grates. The neighborhood board could request that the city provide an information pamphlet explaining how to report any issues. Informing and involving the residents aids the code enforcement department by notifying them when their resources are needed.
Contact information for funding/assistance sources
Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful
201 E. Jackson St. Delaware Building, 1st floor
Muncie, IN 47305
Phone: (765) 273-3714
Muncie Urban Forestry
1800 S. Grant St.
Muncie, IN 47302
Phone: (765) 747-4858
7am – 3pm (M-F)
Contact: Kellie MeClellan, Urban Forester, Certified Arborist
Contact: Jason Donati, Muncie Urban Forestry Committee Chair
325 North McKinley Avenue
Muncie, IN 47306
Phone: (765) 285-1344
American Community Gardening Association
3271 Main St.
College Park, GA 30337
Phone: 1 (877) ASK-ACGA
Liberty Perry Selma Town Endowment Fund Grant
The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc.
201 E. Jackson St., 1st floor
P.O. Box 807
Muncie, IN 47308-0807
The Ball Brothers Foundation Grants
222 S. Mulberry St.
Muncie, IN 47305
Phone: (765) 741-5500
Department of Community Development
300 N. High St., City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax: (765) 747-4898
Contact: Terry Whitt Bailey, Director
This Community Garden Suitability Map shows the suitability of locations for a new community garden. Because RNC is so large, a couple of gardens could be scattered throughout the neighborhood’s boundaries. The high suitability (green) parcels are currently vacant lots and would be ideal locations for a garden. The medium suitability parcels (yellow) are parking lots and could be turned into gardens at the discretion of the lot’s owner. Lastly, the low suitability parcels (red) are attached lots that could be converted into gardens if the owners allow them to have this use.
Some residents suggested that the northern portion of Tuhey Park would be a good place for a community garden. This portion of the park is empty except for a few trees. Nothing would have to be removed in order to turn this piece of land into a garden. The vacant lots at 815, 809, and 805 Riverside Avenue could also be good places for gardens. These lots are located on a high-traffic street and could allow many residents to view the garden.
Summary of relevant case studies
Case Study One: White River Clean-Up
Nine years ago, Muncie Sanitary District and Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful started an annual event to clean trash out of the White River. Every year since, Muncie has gathered hundreds of volunteers to clean up a portion of the White River. During this time volunteers have removed over 85,000 pounds of trash and over 600 tires from the river and its banks. Every year sponsors help fund this large program and help pay for every participant’s lunch, t-shirt, and a water bottle.
RNC could use some of these same strategies to encourage residents to participate in a clean-up day. Free food and a free concert could be offered to participants once the clean-up is over.
Case Study Two: Church Community Garden
In 2014, the congregation of the East 16th Street Church of God, located at 2605 E. 16th St. in Muncie, created a community garden. Resources from the American Community Garden Association were used, to complete this project. Congregation members volunteered to complete this community project. The garden is 140 square feet and donates food to people from the end of July through the beginning of October.
RNC could begin a new garden that is around the same size of this one. Food from this new garden could be donated to BSU’s Cardinal Kitchen.