Muncie gets third roundabout on South Madison
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - A third roundabout in south Muncie that will replace that Muncie welcomes you headstone at Madison and Walnut streets will be part of a long awaited beautification project done in 2013.
And south Muncie residents got a peak at the landscaped and median South Madison from Walnut to 29th Street where the new Muncie Visitors Bureau is located along with the old half empty Southway Plaza.
Landscape architects with Land Story of Indianapolis showed the design to members of the South Muncie Community Development Corp., city officials and others on Thursday at the 26th Street Cafe in Southside High School.
Architect Doug Decker did much of the talking, letting about 25 people know of the 16 foot median and landscaped street complete with sidewalks and rain gardens to handle hundreds of gallons of storm water that come off the Jackson Park Baptist Church parking lot besides the lot at Southway.
And that old Muncie headstone, as some Muncie residents call it, will be dismantled and recreated as a new Muncie sign in the roundabout.
Mike King, a First Merchants bank executive, and head of the South Muncie development effort, reminded the crowd how lost the project became saying then First Lady Maggie Kernan delivered the first check for the project when then Mayor Dan Canan was in office about eight years ago.
King hoped the project will spur development although a new South Muncie Wal-Mart and a strip mall with a Dollar Tree store was built at 29th Street and old Ind. 3 across from Southside.
Pat Hellis, a south Muncie icon, also wondered about the timing and why it took so long to get to construction even with land acquisition for right of way still not done.
Decker and fellow architect Chris Moore gave little clue for why the project got delayed, but history shows that former Mayor Sharon McShurley did little in south Muncie other than to close a neighborhood fire station.
Members of Muncie City Council, including President Jerry Dishman and members Doug Marshall and Nora Powell, were on hand and supportive of the beautification project.
Decker hoped to finish all right of way and have the project ready for bid in November, with an early 2012 construction start. Federal highway money pays for much of the expense besides Land Story's bills.