J.P. Hall, HVNA President receives David Sursa Leadership Award

JP Hall speaking about the Halteman project at the 2023 IDEA Conference

J.P. Hall received the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County’s 2023 David Sursa Leadership Award for his dedicated service to Halteman Village Neighborhood Association. Hall was instrumental in reorganizing the Halteman Village Neighborhood Association into a 501c3 nonprofit in an effort to turn the former private community pool into a public park. He was nominated by the neighborhood association for his work to improve the park, but also for his service to the Muncie Community as a whole. When plans to demolish the neighborhood’s recently closed elementary school were announced, Hall led the neighborhood’s “Kids not Condos” campaign that saw that building ultimately saved and turned into Mitchell Early Childhood and Family Resource Center. To read more about Hall’s work in the community please visit the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County’s award announcement.

Halteman Village Celebrates Park Improvements

Photo of park sign

Halteman Village Neighborhood Association held their first park party Saturday, July 1st, and it was a huge success! Around 300 folks attended to celebrate the transformation of Halteman Park. To date, HVNA has raised over $112,000 towards park improvements that include new playground equipment, pavilion, and landscaping. The neighborhood association recently launched another campaign to raise funds to implement recreational and wellness opportunities for adults and seniors in the community. To learn more about past improvements and current goals as well as how you can make a donation, please visit:  https://www.patronicity.com/project/halteman_park_phase_two#!/

Neighborhoods USA Conference Recognizes Muncie

Photo of team that attended the conference to accept the award.

The Muncie team that traveled to the Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) Conference returned with an award, great feedback, and some wonderful neighborhood ideas.

The 48th annual conference, which brings together people/organizations committed to building and strengthening neighborhoods, was held in El Paso, Texas, May 24-27.

The team featured Heather Williams, Ball State Office of Community Engagement associate director and manager of the Building Better Communities Initiative; Krista Flynn, OCE program coordinator and MAP member; Megan “Mo” Orbin of MAP; Mitch Isaacs (executive director of Shafer Leadership Academy, MAP board president), and Dustin Clark (City of Muncie).

They placed fifth in Regional Best Neighborhood Program in the Social Revitalization/Neighborliness category for the IDEA Conference, which brings together leaders representing Muncie’s neighborhoods to develop and strengthen community-building skills.

“I learned that we are a part of a vast national effort to revitalize communities at the grassroots level. It’s not just Muncie that seeks to engage residents; it’s a movement happening across the county, ” Mitch said. “Judges and NUSA board members both commented on our passion for the IDEA Conference. They could tell we love the conference and believe in the impact it has on neighborhood leaders!”

Williams, Flynn, and Orbin also presented “Neighborhoods ARP Funding: Participatory Budgeting in Action” at the conference.

A description of the presentation from the NUSA program described it this way: “The City of Muncie, IN, allocated $1 million to help combat the effects of COVID-19 within Muncie’s neighborhoods. The process that developed to ensure the equitable distribution of those funds focused on residents’ voices and meeting the needs of each individual neighborhood association.”

Krista said it was “exciting to share how Muncie is utilizing the ARP funds.” ”Several folks from our session stayed after to ask more in-depth questions on how they can do the same in their community,” she added. Neighborhoods, USA (NUSA) is a national, non-profit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations. Created in 1975 to share information and experiences used to build stronger communities, NUSA continues to encourage networking and information-sharing to facilitate the development of partnerships among neighborhood organizations, government, and the private sector for the ultimate goal of strengthening every neighborhood.

Kindness Rocks at Be My Neighbor Day

Four colorful baskets, each labeled with a different location, sit in the grass. Each contains many decorated rocks.

Building Better Neighborhoods hosted a booth at this year’s Be My Neighbor Day on June 10th, asking families to paint a rock and then choose where in the community they want it placed. These “Kindness Rocks” with their little pops of color and inspirational quotes are meant to brighten the day of those who find them. You can see these bright additions at Heekin Park’s Memory Spiral, Canon Commons, various MITS bus stops, the Cardinal Greenway Trailhead, Minnetrista’s Children’s Garden, and Westside Park. 

VIDEO: Sanglim Yoo: Discovering New Ways to Improve Cities

Working with the FDA’s Farmers Food Box program and Purdue Extension during the pandemic, CERES Affiliated Faculty Joshua Gruver, Associate Professor of Environment, Geology, and Natural Resources, is helping Hoosiers in need by providing free food sourced from Indiana diary producers. Dr. Gruver and the Muncie Food Hub have been taking milk that would have been dumped and giving it away for free. Watch Josh’s interview on Fox 59.