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. 

Halteman Park Landscape Architecture Studio Project

In the summer of 2019, the City of Muncie made the bold decision to reclaim the former Halteman Swim Club property and designate it as a new city park. The public space, called Halteman Park, represents the extensive efforts of the Halteman Village Neighborhood Association (HVNA), a Ball State class taught by Professors Chris Baas and Steve Burrows, and the City’s Park Department to turn this abandoned pool area into a green space for residents to enjoy. In this immersive Building Better Neighborhoods project, Landscape Architecture students built on the work of previous studios to develop plans for the site. Early this spring, students conducted a public work session with members of the HVNA, the City of Muncie, and the community at large to strategize, vision, and create actionable steps for future improvements for the property.

REPORT (pdf)

Faculty Mentors: Chris Baas, Jeremy Merrill, J.P. Hall
Departments: Landscape Architecture, Architecture
Community Partners: Halteman Village Neighborhood Association, City of Muncie, Muncie Parks Department
Student Team: Grace DeBaun, Andrea Eageny, Stephanie Gates, Morgan Getz, Kaitlin Gobrogge, Elise Granlund, Emma Hawkins, Jared Heitkamp, Allison Janik, Emilee Lemmer, Meaghan Lessley, Eva Martin, Sophie Moody, Bryce Muller, Drayson Nespo, Keller Oeth, Violet Overstreet, Ciera Silva, Claire Thurlow, Krista Walterbusch

Ross Community Center Renovations and Baseball Fields

The Ross Community Center, located at 1110 W 10th St in Muncie, has seen some major renovations in the past year. June 2nd marked the grand opening of the new Ross Center baseball fields. The development includes youth baseball and softball fields, and other recreational facilities for the surrounding communities. The land for the baseball fields were paid for by a grant funded by the Ball Brothers Foundation and a donation from the Vectren Foundation. The anticipation of the fields sparked many other transformations at the center. Most recently, volunteers from Lowe’s worked on the construction of 10 pergolas, mural paintings on the building, painting of new picnic tables, and the construction of a stage with future plans of building an amphitheater. Lowe’s donated $2,500 in materials and two days of labor to the community center. The community center hopes that these renovations will help to revitalize the surrounding Thomas/Avondale neighborhood and bring more economic development opportunities to the area.

Photos provided by the Ross Center Facebook Page:

Photos provided by Heather Williams:

Nature Play: Design Build Exploration with Children as Co-creators – Fall 2015

Pam Harwood, of the Ball State University Department of Architecture, led teams of students from various majors in this Immersive Learning project designed to combine learning and playtime for Muncie children.

“Our children are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world,” wrote Richard Louv. This project presented a variety of small-scale design-build opportunities for interdisciplinary teams of students to develop into innovative play elements for a nature-based outdoor learning environment at Head Start’s preschool in Muncie. An integration of design, making, teaching, and learning was paramount in this elective. Whether using salvaged timbers for a series of small bridges in the wetlands, or re-harvested wood in the knowledge wall, sustainable construction and environmental education was the goal of this nature-based preschool environment. Age-appropriate activity settings were co-created with children in a user-centered manner, where the approach to learning was gently guided, open-ended explorations in sensitively constructed learning spaces and natural habitats.

May 16, 2015 – Clifton-Wallace Park Dedication Ceremony

The Old West End Neighborhood Association held the official opening of the Clifton-Wallace Park with a ceremony that included the planting of a memorial tree in honor of the neighborhood association’s founder, John Weinberger.

After the opening and planting ceremony, the OWE Neighborhood Association continued work on Community Circle park at the corner of Cherry and Main Streets.