The city of Muncie has locked in the developer for the next phase of a high-profile quality-of-life project. HWC Engineering Inc. will handle half the design and all the construction responsibilities for the Kitselman Trailhead efforts on the city’s east side gateway.
The city detailed the full scope of the work at the end of March. It includes the $9 million trailhead project, which will join the corridor with downtown and the Cardinal Greenway. Officials also add the adjacent Kitselman Pure Energy Park, which involves redevelopment of the former Indiana Steel and Wire property, is moving forward. KPEP director Gary Dannar says "we have already removed many abandoned homes. The next step will be to fill the site so that we can breathe new life into the blight with new roads, buildings and landscaping. The Kitselman Trailhead improvement is the main attractor to a development like ours." He expects work to begin by the end of the year. At the time of the groundbreaking, Dannar estimated some $25 million in commitments had already been secured for the future. His mobile power station company, DD Dannar LLC, will eventually be locating into the park.
Mayor Dennis Tyler says the project is a major component in the city’s talent attraction and retention efforts. "There are about 5,000 to 6,000 people driving to work at Ball State, Ball Hospital and Downtown that use this city entrance daily. The abandoned wastelands from the former, once vital factories in this area are a scar in the eye of anyone using this entrance to Muncie. To be able to bring new life to this area by boosting the quality of life by building trail, a trailhead and safe access to the White River is a celebration of some of the City’s best regional destination attractions: White River and the Greenways," he said.
The project is supposed to take up to five years to be fully-complete. The contract for the second phase of work come in just under $800,000.