Muncie Action Plan CenterPoint Scholars initiative update!

CenterPoint Scholar class of 2024 group photo

MAP has been providing neighborhood leadership skill development since 2010 through the Neighborhood Leadership Council. In October 2023, MAP received a generous grant from CenterPoint Energy to create a new program to train ten individuals in grassroots advocacy. The program began with a competitive application process in January 2024 and an announcement of Scholars at the March 2024 IDEA Conference.

The CenterPoint Scholars attended a weekend retreat at Hueston Woods in April to set the framework for the year-long program and to build connections between participants. Scholars are participating in monthly trainings (Mar. 2024 – Mar. 2025) on topics that include project management, conflict resolution, and trust building while working towards the completion of projects that will positively impact our city’s neighborhoods.

The 2024-2025 CenterPoint Scholars are Alexis Dishman (Western Woods), Bernice Graham (Whitely), Christah Brantley (McKinley), Gracie Scholl (Thomas Park/Avondale), Judah Smith (Halteman Village), Marquiese McClendon (Southside), Napoleon Price Jr. (South Central), Patricia Akins (Industry), Rheaunna Jones (Carlton), and William Thomas (Thomas Park/Avondale).

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Official Boundaries

Muncie is unique in that if you are inside the city limits, you are more than likely in a neighborhood. Unlike other cities, which have one or more historic neighborhoods surrounding a downtown, Muncie is a city of neighborhoods. It has been said that its current map was devised through public comment and at the hand of the City of Muncie’s Community Development Department in the 1960’s. That the small size of the westside neighborhoods are due to their historic plats and covenants, many of which still held some power, and the vastness of Southside was due to a brother and sister that lived on opposite ends that expressed a desire to live in the same neighborhood.

Click here to view the map of Muncie’s current neighborhoods.

Practice Hospitality

Practice makes perfect, as the old adage goes. But why hospitality? What does it mean to be hospitable?

Hospitality is extending a welcome to another and it is a basic act of kindness. When we are hospitable we are creating an environment that makes others feel relaxed and at ease.

Think of a time that you felt welcomed into another’s home or at an event. What made you feel that way? Did the host greet you individually with a smile? Did they introduce you to others so that you could build connections? What was the environment like? Was there food and drink and comfortable places to sit that invited conversation?

Being hospitable is extending welcome and is an important part of being a good neighbor. Everyone wants to feel like they belong – in their workplace, in their social sphere, and in their home.

How can you make your neighbors feel that they are an important part of the neighborhood? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Invite them to attend a neighborhood meeting or gathering like a picnic, ice cream social, or ultimate Frisbee game.
  • Find out what foods they enjoy and treat them to fresh baked Naan, chocolate chip cookies, or sopapilla.
  • Get to know them! Find out the names of their children, pets, and family members and what they enjoy doing.
  • Host a dinner party and invite several neighbors to help build connections.

Building better neighborhoods is the work of all of us and an easy way to start is by extending a welcome to your neighbors.

January – April 2024 Free Planetarium Show Schedule

Press release provided by the Charles W. Brown Planetarium
www.bsu.edu/planetarium

All regular planetarium programs are free of charge, cash donations are accepted at the door.

One free pair of solar eclipse glasses will be provided to each planetarium show guest for a suggested cash donation of $1, while supplies last. Glasses are partially funded through support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Simons Foundation.

January

The Universe Overhead

Fridays: Jan. 12, 26 at 6:30pm
Saturdays: Jan. 13, 27 at 6:30pm

The sky on cold winter nights has some of the brightest stars and the best-known constellations. Some of these stars are truly supergiants hundreds of times bigger than our Sun, while others are dwarfs the size of Earth. Along the winter Milky Way there are colorful clouds where new stars are being born. Come and enjoy a guided tour of this celestial wonderland, learn about the upcoming total solar eclipse, and use star charts to explore the night sky.
Suitable for all ages 8+, all ages are welcome.

We Are Astronomers

Saturdays: Jan. 13, 27 at 5:00pm

Narrated by David Tennant, we explore what exactly do astronomers do in this new program. Today’s astronomer is not the lone observer of past centuries. This program reveals the global collaboration, technology, and dedication required to answer the unresolved questions of the Universe and features info on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

Most suitable for all ages 8+, all ages welcome

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure

Saturdays: Jan. 13, 27 at 3:30pm

“One World, One Sky” is a brilliant program that follows Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a new friend from China. Together, they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. They will also find shapes in the sky that will help them find the North Star. This cross-cultural adventure opens children’s eyes to the sky, helping them see how people all over the world are connected.
Best suited for families and groups with pre-K through 1st grade learners, all ages are welcome.

February

Solar Superstorms

Fridays: Feb. 9, 23 at 6:30pm
Saturdays: Feb. 10, 24 at 6:30pm

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun… high-velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave that reaches 100,000km high, and rising loops of electrified gas are energized by what is going on underneath its surface. Will these “storms” affect Earth? Find the answer as we venture into the seething interior of our star to learn how they are formed. Solar Superstorms takes viewers into the tangle of magnetic fields and superhot plasma that vent the Sun’s rage in dramatic flares, violent solar tornadoes, and the largest eruptions in the solar system: Coronal Mass Ejections.
Suitable for all ages 10+, all ages are welcome.

Eclipse: The Sun Revealed

Saturdays: Feb. 10, 24 at 5:00pm

There will be a total eclipse of the Sun visible from Muncie, Indiana on April 8, 2024. A total solar eclipse is such a spectacular event, it is never too early to start planning for one. Come learn how solar and lunar eclipses happen, and about scientific discoveries that have been supported by total solar eclipses. This show also uses beautiful visuals to explore the historical and cultural view of eclipses, and explains how to safely see these awe-inspiring sights.

Most suitable for ages 10+, all ages are welcome.

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure

Saturdays: Feb. 10, 24 at 3:30pm

“One World, One Sky” is a brilliant program that follows Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a new friend from China. Together, they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. They will also find shapes in the sky that will help them find the North Star. This cross-cultural adventure opens children’s eyes to the sky, helping them see how people all over the world are connected.
Best suited for families and groups with pre-K through 1st grade learners, all ages are welcome.

March

Eclipse: The Sun Revealed

Fridays: March 1, 22 at 6:30pm
Saturdays: March 2, 23 at 6:30pm

There will be a total eclipse of the Sun visible from Muncie, Indiana on April 8, 2024. A total solar eclipse is such a spectacular event, it is never too early to start planning for one. Come learn how solar and lunar eclipses happen, and about scientific discoveries that have been supported by total solar eclipses. This show also uses beautiful visuals to explore the historical and cultural view of eclipses, and explains how to safely see these awe-inspiring sights.

Most suitable for ages 10+, all ages are welcome.

Kitz the Cat’s SuperMoon Adventure

Saturdays: March 2, 23 at 3:30pm & 5:00pm

Develop an understanding of the danger of space junk and humanity’s moon exploration while following adventurous cat astronauts! The Earth in the far future, where humanity no longer exists. Cats that survived in the debris left behind by humanity have evolved into intelligent beings. Three cats – Kitz, Tutti, and Pepe – are working as cleaners at NYASA and today’s mission is to clean up space junk. But these unpredictable street cats skip some of their work and fly to the Moon!
Best suited for families and groups with kids ages 6+, all ages are welcome.

April

Visit the Ball State eclipse website at https://bsu.edu/planetarium/eclipse-2024 for up-to-date information on additional special events and programs running in preparation for the Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024.

We Are Stars

Fridays: April 12, 26 at 6:30pm
Saturdays: April 13, 27 at 6:30pm

Narrated by Andy Serkis, this program seeks to answer some of the biggest questions of all time. What are we made of? Where did it all come from? Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry, our explosive origins and connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe. A family-friendly film full of fun, adventure, and enlightenment.

Most suitable for all ages 8+, all ages are welcome.

Sunset Meditation

Saturdays: April 13, 27 at 5:00pm

How do STEM workers, including NASA professionals, cope with stress? Meditation is a powerful tool for maintaining psychological health and resilience. Since the planetarium offers a dark and quiet space for relaxation, it is the perfect place for meditation. Enjoy a free guided meditation experience from Ball State University. View an amazing sunset as you travel from the Grand Canyon to the North Pole. Then relax under a night sky filled with stars and glimpses of the Northern Lights.

Suitable for all ages 12+, all ages are welcome.

Magic Tree House: Space Mission

Saturdays: April 13, 27 at 3:30pm

Travel with Jack and Annie, stars of the Magic Tree House® best-selling children’s book series, as they search for answers to a mysterious riddle they discover in a written note signed “–M.” Peek into the treehouse and follow Jack and Annie on an exciting adventure as they meet a helpful astronomer and an astronaut. As they travel to an observatory and beyond into space, Jack and Annie nearly get … well, we don’t want to give the surprise away!

Best suited for families and groups with kids ages 6+, all ages are welcome.

Program Information

  • Cost: FREE, cash donations are accepted at the door. Plan to arrive early as seating is done on a first-come, first-served basis and seating is limited.
  • Runtime: Approximately 50 minutes total with live sky tour.
  • We do our best to have doors open 30 minutes before show time.

Planetarium Information

  • The planetarium is located on the west end of the Cooper Science Complex, at Charles W. Brown Planetarium, 2111 W. Riverside Ave., Muncie, Indiana 47306.
  • Due to construction being done on the Cooper Science Complex, select parking and pathway access to the planetarium is blocked off. Plan to arrive early to safely navigate the area and arrive on time for the program.
  • Food, drinks, gum or candy are not allowed in the planetarium.
  • Cellphones and any electronics that emit light must be silenced or turned off at the start of all programs. Please refrain from wearing light-up shoes to any planetarium programs.
  • Children 17 years and under should be accompanied by an adult.
  • We greatly appreciate your support to make our programs possible, and cash donations are accepted at the door.

For directions and parking information, as well as general policies, please visit the Charles W. Brown Planetarium website at www.bsu.edu/planetarium.

Neighborhood Research

A historic Muncie home viewed from the street through tree branches.

Photo above by Chris Flook

A view down a sidewalk of one of Muncie's neighborhoods in the fall.

Have you ever wondered why a certain house in your neighborhood is built of brick and set far off the road while all of the surrounding homes are wood-sided and closer to the road? Or are there sidewalks that flow from street to street and then suddenly stop? Is there a grouping of old commercial-style buildings that don’t seem to fit into the otherwise residential vibe of the neighborhood?

Muncie was first platted in 1827, incorporated as a town in 1854, and became an incorporated city in 1865. However, the area was first settled in the 1770s by the Lenape (Delaware) people, who had been transported from their tribal land in the Mid-Atlantic region. In 1876, natural gas was discovered in Indiana, and the gas boom reached Muncie in 1886.

Muncie attracted new businesses and industries, and its population grew over the next 100 years. What would eventually become Ball State University, the Eastern Indiana Normal School opened in 1899, only to shut its doors after two years of operation. The Ball Brothers eventually bought the buildings and land and donated them to the State of Indiana, which set up operations in 1918 for the Indiana State Normal School, Eastern Division. The school was renamed Ball Teachers College in 1922, Ball State Teachers College in 1929, and Ball State University in 1965.

A view of the EB and Bertha C. Ball mansion as seen from the lawn

Muncie’s growth is tied to its industrial past, as well as to the establishment of Ball State University. You can discover more about the physical development of the city by reviewing archival Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which were produced by the Sanborn Map Company to assist fire insurance agents in determining risk and the cost of premiums. Ball State University’s Digital Media Repository has 200 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Muncie dating from 1883 through 1911.

Additionally, many of Muncie’s neighborhoods developed covenants and restrictions as they were platted by developers. Original plats and their corresponding covenants and restrictions can be found in the Delaware County Recorders office, but several have been digitized and are available online. Many of the original subdivisions included restrictions on non-white residency, which is discussed in a Star Press article written by Bryan Preston in 2018. Several neighborhoods, including Westridge, Ludingwood, and Kenmore, have legally removed the race-based restrictions from their original covenants, language made formally illegal by the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Learning more about the history of your neighborhood is an interesting activity, and by forming a better understanding of the past, you may be able to envision an even greater future. If you have a desire to connect with others who love local history, the Delaware County Historical Society has educational sessions, workshops, and an annual meeting of members. Consider joining!

Spinning Towards Inclusion – Morningside Park welcomes the We-Go-Round

A dome with vertical spokes sits on an attractive slab against the background of the rest of the park. It has seats inside and the backs of the seats are painted with seasonal motifs. Visible on the front are a winter scene with a deer and three snow-covered trees, and a scene with two trees and a variety of animals including a beaver and a wolf facing the center of the panel.

In an enchanting display of community spirit and dedication to inclusivity, the Morningside Neighborhood Association, in collaboration with Muncie Parks and Recreation, proudly unveiled the newest addition to Morningside Park – the We-Go-Round. This vibrant carousel of joy was brought to life thanks in part to the financing from ARP funds, showcasing a community’s commitment to creating shared spaces that celebrate the diversity of abilities.

The We-Go-Round, installed by Landscape Structures, is more than just a playground piece; it’s a revolutionary design that invites children of all abilities to whirl in unison. With strategic seating areas and plenty of space, the structure welcomes wheelchairs, even those without wheel-locking mechanisms, ensuring no child is left on the sidelines.

Mayor Ridenour stands with Neighborhood Association members in front of the new We-Go-Round. A man in the center of the group holds a large pair of black, ribbon-cutting scissors.

The ribbon was cut on Monday, October 16th, 2023, with Mayor Ridenour, Deputy Mayor Ivy, Superintendent Malone, Park Staff, Neighborhood Association members, and the Muncie Police Department in attendance. The We-Go-Round, with its shade-providing rooftop and central handhold, promises to be the hub of laughter and shared experiences.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in making this dream a reality.  Come visit, see the joy in motion, and let your hearts spin with delight at Morningside Park.