READI Grant Funding Moves Central City Revitalization Efforts Forward

Early renderings of the Muncie Central High School area along Walnut St. and Columbus Ave. Illustration provided
Early renderings of the Muncie Central High School area along Walnut St. and Columbus Ave. Illustration provided

By Eliza Guion—

MUNCIE, IN As a part of its mission to build lively places, foster healthy living, and create new opportunities for learning and working, Next Muncie has a great interest in projects funded by the READI grant. In June 2022, East Central Indiana was awarded $15 million in grant money. $2.65 million was allocated to the improvement of streets, sidewalks, and the beautification of the Muncie Central High School area, the McKinley Live-Learn Neighborhood, and the Whitely Neighborhood. These areas have been important to Next Muncie for years, and the coalition is pleased to see the projects continue to move forward.

The rezoning of the McKinley Live-Learn Neighborhood that occurred in early 2023 opens the pathway for much needed revitalization in the area. According to Mayor Dan Ridenour, the final engineering for the McKinley-Whitely Live-Learn Neighborhood is nearly done. “We hope to put the construction work out for bid in the next few months,” Ridenour said. The city anticipates roadwork will begin by the end of the year. The rezoning will allow for the construction of both new housing and retail options in the neighborhood.

The McKinley-Whitely area provides excellent potential for collaboration across an array of new and existing projects. In July 2023, the YMCA of Muncie held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility that will be located adjacent to Muncie Central High School. Through collaboration with multiple Muncie entities, the new facility will provide a robust community space for all ages. “We’ve worked with both the school system, and the Y to see what helps and encourages success for all entities,” Ridenour said. In addition, the YMCA of Muncie also aims to improve the surrounding streetscape and pedestrian amenities. Continued collaboration with the surrounding community shows promise for a variety of future improvements that could grow as a result of current projects.

The city is prepared to apply for more funding in the future to continue revitalization efforts. “With READI 2.0, we are really focused on improving Downtown and increasing the draw to come to our city,” Mayor Ridenour confirmed. Next Muncie will continue to champion the revitalization of the area as projects progress and more funding becomes available. Improving the infrastructure of the Central City lays the groundwork for Next Muncie’s vision for a walkable, bike-friendly neighborhood that will attract families and individuals seeking a high quality of life.

The members of Next Muncie work collaboratively to advocate for projects and programs that benefit the people of Muncie.Visit