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June 3, 2015

Muncie Parks Department Breaks Ground on a new Downtown Park

After a year of planning and fundraising led by Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, the new Cornerstone Park groundbreaking will take place at 5:00 P.M on Wednesday June 10, 2015 at 101 S. Madison Street in Muncie.

For years, the site known as the Holiday Cleaners at the corner of Madison and Main Streets  will become a new gateway to Muncie’s Downtown called Cornerstone Park.  The new park will be a beautiful addition to the Downtown and will welcome visitors and residents into Muncie’s Downtown proper.  Various features will be constructed in the park including extensive landscaping improvements, meandering sidewalks, streetlights, a concrete seat wall, a small performance stage, bio-swales for improved drainage, artwork completed by local artists, landscaped berms, and various ornamental flowers, shrubs and trees.

The City acquired the strategic location in 2013 and immediately developed plans to demolish the existing structures and remove all of the blacktop surfaces that covered the site.  Mayor Dennis Tyler said, “There was not one blade of grass or anything green at this location.  It was imperative that we clean up the site for those who live and work in the area.”  In addition, the site was home to a buried underground storage tank and contamination from various other sources.  Through assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency working in cooperation with the City of Muncie, a Phase I and II environmental assessment was completed, the underground tank was removed, and four environmental monitoring wells were installed.

Jay Crew Landscaping volunteered to create a landscaping improvement plan that would connect this site to the existing and adjacent Fireman’s Park.  With that drawing, City Consultant Brad Bookout set out to seek support and input from various community partners and foundations.  After meetings with over fifteen strategic groups, many ideas and suggestions were gathered and ultimately incorporated into a new design completed by Rundell Ernstberger Associates.  Through the generous help and guidance of Rick Zeigler, President of the Sherman & Marjorie Zeigler Foundation, and Greg Huffman, President of Community Enhancement Projects (CEP), nearly $470,000 was raised from eight different project partners.  These partners include the Ball Brothers Foundation, the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, the George and Frances Ball Foundation, Community Enhancement Projects, the Zeigler Foundation, the Muncie Sanitary District, the Muncie Redevelopment Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler.

Greg Huffman, President of CEP, commented, “The dramatic improvements being made this year at the new Cornerstone Park will greatly enhance the appearance and usefulness of this gateway to downtown Muncie.  CEP is pleased to have participated in facilitating the design and financing of the project.”  Scheduled completion of the new park will be early September of 2015.  Muncie Parks Superintendent Harvey Wright said, “Having this park in such close proximity to both the Cornerstone Center for the Arts and the Muncie Civic Theater will give children and students the opportunity to hold classes, create art, and or perform outdoors with the backdrop of a beautiful city park”.

Source: Muncie Mayor’s Office

The Site Plan for the Park can be found here.