Survey Spotlights Muncie Blight Fight

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Volunteers and paid surveyors combed the entire city, gathering data with a mobile app. Volunteers and paid surveyors combed the entire city, gathering data with a mobile app.

The chair of a 17-month-long process to catalog every property in Muncie says the data will help public decision makers get the "biggest bang" for their reinvestment dollar. Briana Grosicki, who is with the city's Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation Commission, says the ScoutMuncie effort resulted in an assessment of all 30,000 properties and the structures located on them. The results, Grosicki says, show blight affects all areas of the city, "but the extent of vacancy is not as overwhelming as previously thought."

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Grosicki says the work will help identify "strength nodes" within neighborhoods that may have gotten less attention than needed. Muncie has more available buildings and infrastructure than population to fill them and Grosicki says providing context for the historic properties will help inform potential redevelopment or demolition decisions in the face of years of declining population and shrinking public resources to deal with blight.

She says the data has been used to create a draft historic preservation plan for the city and since more than 76 percent of the properties in Muncie are over 50 years old, the results will help recognize neighborhoods "for the historic value, the story that they tell in the story of Muncie."

Volunteers and paid surveyors combed the entire city, gathering data by using the ArcGIS: Collector app, which was provided by the Delaware County GIS Department. Grosicki says many in the city were "shocked" the effort used to such a high tech tool.

The results show:

  • 80 percent of all properties include a structure
  • 4.6 percent of buildings are vacant -- more than 1,300 parcels include a vacant structure
  • 8 percent of lots are vacant -- almost 2,400 parcels were identified as vacant land
  • 62 percent of all properties in the city are within 300 feet of a vacant building

ScoutMuncie was supported by grants from the Ball Brothers Foundation and the Muncie Redevelopment Commission.

You can connect to the full report by clicking here.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Briana Grosicki says the work will help identify "strength nodes" within neighborhoods that may have gotten less attention than needed.
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