MUNCIE, Ind. — The planned vision for the Muncie and Delaware County community is ready for consideration and ratification by Delaware County commissioners and Muncie City Council.
Members of the Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission met Thursday night and gave the plan, called TogetherDM, their approval.
The comprehensive plan has been in the works for nearly a year and is the result of input from citizens throughout the community.
The document will replace the previous comprehensive plan, which was put together in 2000, according to Marta Moody, executive director of the plan commission.
Peter Lombardi, the manager of the project for czb, a Virginia firm contracted to help develop the plan, appeared remotely to discuss TogetherDM for members of the commission.
He said the plan, if followed, should put the community in position to be among the most desirable places to live in the region.
"We've got to get the basics right" in order to compete for families and go beyond the basics, he said.
It will be important, he added, for a coalition to come together and give the plan traction.
The priorities for the community in the plan include improving the quality of place, strengthening housing conditions and options and expanding upward mobility.
The plan also establishes core values of entrepreneurial, more inclusive, more bold and being gritty.
"Gritty" refers to being a community where people work hard and come together to accomplish things.
"We've rolled up our sleeves and taken on big problems before," Lombardi said.
The draft version of the plan calls on efforts related to the plan to be transparent: "Explain and discuss budgets and decision-making with the public rather than assuming that a mountain of data counts as transparency."
It also calls on the community leadership to be more thoughtful.
"We recognize that we often neglect to think something through strategically – connecting one action or investment to other actions or investments for greater impact or properly accounting for long-term needs and costs," the draft plan states. "This has resulted in one-off efforts that fail to build momentum where we need it most."
The draft plan notes recent improvements, such as going from 63% of roads and streets being in need of major rehabilitation to under 50%. Land development regulations and standards have been upgraded and the recent investment in Muncie parks has gone from $24 per capita to $50 per capita.
The draft plan also notes that the performance gap between higher performing county schools and Muncie schools has narrowed and third-grade reading skills remain at or above state average.
Planners aim to develop a coalition from across the community to help implement the plan with consistency.
Moody said the proposed plan next seeks approval from Delaware County commissioners at 9 a.m. Jan. 3 in the Delaware County Building. Muncie City Council will consider the plan at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 in city hall.