Former Industrial Site Gets a Multi-Million Dollar Make-Over That Will Benefit Whole City of Muncie
The eastern corridor of Muncie stands to change dramatically from the early 1900s when it was owned by Indiana Steel and Wire. In 2015, it was purchased by Kitselman Pure Energy Park and the plans are underway to dramatically transform the property that has sat run-down and decrepit for many intervening years. The high price tag on the project will bring with it impressive improvements for the entire city; hopefully sparking further development by upgrading an area that was formerly down and out.
Construction has only recently begun on this massive project known collectively as the Kitselman Gateway Initiative. The Initiative includes: replacement of Historic Bridge 85 (also known as Albany Bridge), replacement of the State Hwy 32 bridge, the Kitselman Trailhead development, and the Energy Park project.
The Energy Park itself carries a $60 million sticker as well as ambitious plans that will create a useful, mixed-use area out of what was previously unused, unappealing property. The Park design centers around 50 main acres that will boast the headquarters of DD Dannar LLC, a new solar power plant, as well as hotel and retail space, and also allotted green space. There will also be 40 acres beyond the central acreage that may be designated for apartment construction down the road. The trailhead development portion will take up 18 acres and cost $9 million, and connect the Kitselman Trailhead with both the White River Trail and the Muncie Arts & Culture Trail.
The city of Muncie is looking to the Kitselman Gateway Initiative and specifically the Energy Park development to reinvigorate development in the area as well as the city as a whole. The energy and momentum that the Park will bring to Muncie in terms of business and residential space, as well as active green space is worthy of the tax credit the city received to help fund the project's future. KPEP and its partners are investing $60 in the development and received the largest tax credit in the state for the project; the credit is designed to prompt companies to invest in areas like this site – former industrial property needing significant renovation.
Despite the large amount of work remaining ahead for the Energy Park and the entire Kitselman Initiative, the city of Muncie stands to benefit hadsomely. The city will be trading an aging cast-off industrial site for one populated by offices, possibly future apartments, and people enjoying the green space and trail. Two improved bridges will upgrade the city's older infrastructure as well. The investment in Muncie may well pay off in stimulating development in part of the city steeped for years in blight.
To read more about the Kitselman Initiative and to see sketches of the project, see the Muncie Journal here.