Three separate projects underway to revitalize Muncie brownfield factory areas

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Artist rendering of Kitselman Trailhead and Muncie Sign from Bridge 85.

The City of Muncie, Cardinal Greenways, Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Kitselman Pure Energy Park (KPEP) continue in cooperation to revitalize the former Indiana Steel and Wire and King Indiana Forge brownfield factory areas on the city’s east side, the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance says in a news release.

“People traveling along East Jackson St. have noticed the early beginnings of the reconstruction efforts with the installation of construction fencing around Indiana Steel and Wire”, says Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler. “Soon, INDOT will be installing temporary signals for the INDOT East Jackson St. Bridge reconstruction that is expected to take about 3 years to rebuild. While INDOT is working on the Jackson Street Bridge, the City of Muncie will begin to construct the first phase of the Kitselman Trailhead with the reinstallation of the historic Albany Bridge.”

The Kitselman Trailhead, the INDOT East Jackson Street Bridge and KPEP are three separate projects. Each project is financed and managed by separate organizations.

INDOT’s Jackson Street Bridge is funded by the Federal Highway Administration. KPEP is funded by a private developer. The Kitselman Trailhead has many funding sources both public and private: INDOT, Indiana DNR, The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, Inc., Community Enhancement Projects, Inc., Ball Brothers Foundation, Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, City of Muncie and Muncie Sanitary District.

The Kitselman Trailhead project is being implemented through a partnership with the Community Enhancement Projects, Inc., Cardinal Greenway and the City of Muncie.

HWC Engineering, DAVID RUBIN Land Collective and Flat Land Resources are engineering, landscape architectural design, and project management professionals coordinating the day-to-day efforts of the trailhead project.

David Rubin, a landscape architect and founder of DAVID RUBIN Land Collective based in Philadelphia, created the master plan for the Kitselman Trailhead. “The notion of transforming an empty, industrial, blighted brownfield area that once polluted and almost killed the White River into a pedestrian-friendly trail and river-centric greenfield landscape surrounded by green technology businesses is the collective consciousness of the entire Muncie community, redefining itself as Middletown USA for the next 100-years and beyond,” he said in a statement. “The Kitselman trailhead design is the renaissance, reinvention and transformation from Muncie’s industrial heritage to the alternative energy revolution by celebrating art, nature, history and recreation in the embrace of new technologies. Quality of place is the future trademark of a vibrant and thriving city.”

The Kitselman Trailhead project has been divided into three construction phases.

  • Phase 1 is the restoration and installation of the old Bridge 85 also known as the Albany Bridge and temporary trail connections to Cardinal Greenway.
  • Phase 2 is the construction on the eastern side of the river and the former Indiana Steel and Wire employee parking lot, including a White River Greenway trail connection from the Craddock Wetland at Gavin St. to the relocated Albany Bridge and a large lawn area being constructed on the old parking lot.
  • Phase 3 is the construction of the west side of the river which includes areas of the former King Forge property. The final phase of the trailhead project will include large art sculptures that also act as gateways to the city.
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Muncie Mayor Tyler is pictured during the initial kick-off of the project in March of 2016.

“Each phase of the Kitselman Trailhead will be transformative,” said Cardinal Greenway CEO Angie Pool. “With the Albany Bridge in the first phase, the White River Greenway trail connection in the second, and the new City of Muncie gateway art pieces in the final and third phase, it is hard to decide which phase will have the greatest impact to this blighted area of town,” says Angie Pool. “I am so excited and waiting to see the Muncie gateway sign, in the third phase, which is designed to include Ball jar blue glass that will be backlighted at night.”

The INDOT project is divided into 3 phases.

  • Phase 1 is the complete removal and reconstruction of the south side of the bridge.
  • Phase 2 is the relocation of major phone and fiber optic lines from the north side of the bridge to the south side of the bridge.
  • Phase 3 is the demolition and removal of the north side of the bridge and the relocation of Bunch Blvd.

Major construction of the trailhead area will begin this summer and continue for several years. A small part of the project is the planned removal of the abandoned Indiana Steel and Wire dam.