The former Cintas building in downtown Muncie is slated to become a center for businesses and workshops, but a community leader is proposing the property be turned into a park instead.
Sustainable Muncie, a nonprofit group, bought the building last year and is planning to turn it into a creative center called Gearbox: Muncie – A Maker Hub. The $1 million project would provide space for creativity and offer a place for artists to sell their wares.
Tom Bracken, a Muncie community leader, said a park would better benefit the city. He proposed a 10-acre park, with an underground parking garage.
Alyssa Flandermeyer, a junior urban planning major, attended Bracken’s proposal meeting on Jan. 26 at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts. She said the Gearbox Hub is a better choice for Muncie and Ball State, because it offers the chance for collaboration between the two.
“I personally think the Gearbox is the best option," Flandermeyer said. "I know that it would be a great advantage to have because it will bring all of Ball State students together.”
Flandermeyer said having more things to do in Muncie for students who are under 21 will make them leave campus and see the city. She says Muncie has a lot of bars, so it would be a great idea to have something in downtown that was more student friendly.
To build Bracken’s proposed $47 million dollar park, the Cintas building would have to be torn down, along with residential buildings and parking lots in the area.
Kenta Lanham, an urban planning student, also attended the meeting. He said the park is a good idea but should go somewhere else.
Lanham said Bracken’s plan was a bit flawed because the city would have to change infrastructure, buy up buildings and put the park on top of the parking lot. He said Gearbox will bring more economic value to Muncie than a park.
“I believe Bracken’s idea is halfway good,” Lanham said. “I understand him wanting to draw people to downtown Muncie, because that’s what [it] needs.”