The East Central Indiana Regional Planning district has voted to transfer the former Delaware County Justice Center in downtown Muncie to the city in a joint partnership to further site development. The city says the agreement serves as a first step to bringing the location back on the tax roll, and continue economic development efforts around Muncie’s downtown.
“Before we began the process of replacing the Justice Center, which occupied the space downtown since it opened in 1992, we knew that the next use for the location would have to be something that compliments the downtown and brings people and commerce better suited than a jail,” Delaware County Commissioner James King said. “We wanted to do so in a manner that was beneficial to the downtown and the community. This new opportunity to work in cooperation with the city is the right direction to take this project.”
The city says the jail, courts and offices in the former complex have been empty after operations were transferred to the new Delaware County Justice and Rehabilitation Center in February. The Delaware County Commissioners passed control of the building to the ECI Regional Planning District in May.
“Closing this chapter on the Justice Center by providing the city of Muncie an opportunity to redevelop the site means the promise of a real impact on downtown,” Commissioner Shannon Henry said.
City officials hope to work with a developer that would be able to generate a mix of commercial and residential space. In the near future, the city says it will move forward to open a Request for Proposals for the site.
The city says funding saved by the county commissioners that would have been used for the jail’s demolition will be put towards future infrastructure partnerships between the city and county.