The mayor of Muncie says a highly-anticipated project will completely redevelop the city’s eastern corridor. Dennis Tyler and KPEP Indiana LLC CEO Gary Dannar have announced additional details of a massive overhaul in and around the long-abandoned Indiana Steel and Wire property. Signature parts of the plan include privately-owned Kitselman Pure Energy Park, which Dannar says has secured commitments of more than $25 million, and the $9 million Kitselman Trailhead project that will connect to the Cardinal Greenway. Dannar says he will also be locating his mobile power station company in the business park.
In 2013, DD Dannar LLC, owned and led by Gary Dannar, announced plans to move his South Carolina operations to Muncie, eventually creating around 290 jobs.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in the coming weeks and take five years. The final vision also includes a shell building that will be owned by the city. The Muncie City Council is set to vote on April 4 on relocating Bunch Boulevard, which will become the road into the business park and the trailhead. In all, the infrastructure investments total $3.5 million. Another feature of the project is installing the historic "Albany Bridge" at the trailhead for pedestrians to cross the White River. The span was built by Muncie-based Indiana Bridge Co. in 1905 and was relocated to clear the way for a bridge in Albany capable of carrying heavier vehicles.
Half of the trailhead project’s $9 million price tag has already been locked-in through private funding and Indiana Department of Transportation support. It will cover 18 acres of what used to be the King Indiana Forge and Indiana Steel and Wire sites and create a "new, visually compelling" entryway into the Delaware County city. It will join the 62-mile Cardinal Greenway, the state’s largest, with the White River Trail and the Muncie Arts and Culture Trail.
Tyler believes the project will have an impact far beyond Muncie and east central Indiana. "I think it’s going to be so important for the state of Indiana to be able to show people outside the state that there’s a city that really gets it and understands what they need to do to redefine themselves and redevelop themselves. And I think it’s going to send a very strong message that Muncie is ready for that next generation," said Tyler in an interview with Inside INdiana Business.
Partners in the project include:
- Ball Brothers Foundation
- Ball State University
- Cardinal Greenway
- City of Muncie
- Community Enhancement Projects
- Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County
- Edmund and Virginia Ball Foundation
- Flatland Resources
- George & Frances Ball Foundation
- HWC Engineering
- Indiana Department of Environmental Management
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources
- Indiana Department of Transportation
- KPEP Indiana LLC
- Land Collective
- Muncie Arts & Culture Council
- Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance
- Muncie Redevelopment Commission
- Muncie Sanitary District
- Rundell Ernstberger Associates
- Sherman & Marjorie Zeigler Foundation Inc.
- White River Greenway
Tyler says "this project is about catalyzing a revitalization of the City of Muncie, and ties into the fundamental themes of our ADVANCE ECI Regional Cities plan. The number of partners involved in today’s announcement is a testament to Muncie’s focused and collaborative approach to creating the public/private partnerships that are necessary for talent attraction, increased investment, and population growth."
Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler tells Inside INdiana Business the project has come together with the cooperation of a large number of community partners.