Yes Virginia, the University Village at Ball State Still Exists
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - Matt Wagley and Peter Lawson stared into the giant hole where places like Dalby Drugs, Freddie"s Records and Stonehenge were once located.
"That's a big hole," said Wagley who was biking with his friend.
Lawson recalled about 30 years ago drinking at The Chug and then going to his apartment in the building.
The two had mixed feelings about whether the new $54 million apartment, parking and retail structure that will cover where the building, the old Collegenne and other stores once stood.
Wagley took a Libertarian approach saying government should not be involved while Lawson was a bit optimistic about the future.
The University Village and its deconstruction as Ball State student Sarah Flores calls it means fewer bars for the moment and a big void that will not be filled until 2014. Beer cans already litter the hole and fencing keeps students and others off the dirt filled lot.
As for the businesses the construction of Cardinal Square Apartments displaced, the Dill Street Bar and Grill takes up the old CBX Bookstore with a possible opening next month. The old Cleos will evolve into Lola"s Tiny Tiki Den in the old Discount Den. The National Guard office has a tent across from TIS Bookstore and Cupcakes and Coneys is on McGalliard Road.
Karen Fisher, who owns the Art Mart in the office building behind First Merchants Bank, looked at the huge piles of dirt with opportunity and and new market with apartments and retail space.
"We are still here and we are open," said Fisher, who was updating computers and getting ready for Ball State art students and professors.
The Art Mart has been a survivor in the Village for 40 years as well as The Chug. Other longtime businesses like White Rabbit Books and Greek's Pizzeria still hold down the other side of University along with businesses in the historic Unimart that added Grandma Betty's Ice Cream.
Since Chris Hiatt won his fight with Ball State over the printing shop on McKinley, he and other employees were busy with course packets and binders for the thousands of students coming on campus to begin class on Monday.
Cardinal Square developers plan to begin construction this fall despite the site being vacant. And other bar and restaurant operators like the Locker Room, Be Here Now, and Scottie's Brew House see the demolition bringing even more students through their doors.
Flores, sitting with friends in front the new Dill Street, did not think there was much left of the Village and were looking for other places to hang out.