This is a much heavier page to turn, but moving forward to a new, more prosperous chapter means everything for the future of our city.
Around 1967, things started to change in Muncie. The global economy was well on its way to becoming far more competitive through diversification and automation. The off-shoring of jobs had begun and Muncie’s population had reached its zenith. School enrollment started to slowly decline. To this day, enrollment is shrinking and adversely impacting our city.
As the world became more diversified and many other Indiana cities found their way back to prosperity, Muncie did not. In fact, since the Great Recession of 2007, while many Indiana cities have regained lost jobs, Muncie has not. Muncie is the fourth-worst performing metropolitan area in the United States.
Since 2001, our nation has benefitted from a 12% standard of living increase while Muncie’s standard of living has dropped by 7%. On top of all this, Muncie faces an opioid epidemic far more formidable than what many other communities are experiencing.
It’s time to acknowledge that we must adopt policies and take definitive steps of action to reverse our decline in population and make our community a more attractive place to live and work. Economic development strategies that focus on supporting existing businesses and attraction of new businesses, world-class public services, premiere K-12 education, and the creation of quality neighborhoods throughout our city will be the key building blocks.
To turn this page, it will take broad coalitions and political alliances from all sides. It will take a collective vision consistently applied. Most importantly, it will take a regional approach to economic growth over the next fifteen to twenty years to see meaningful results. We must begin now.
Office of Economic Affairs
As Muncie’s next mayor I will create the Office of Economic Affairs which will align all City economic development efforts and the work of applicable boards, commission and authorities to our economic goals. No longer will there be a fragmented approach to economic development activities where responsibilities are parsed out to different organizations.
Muncie 2040—Economic Growth
I will immediately convene a broad coalition of business, education, health care, philanthropic, and state and regional business development entities to craft a regional economic development plan of action, known as Muncie 2040—Economic Growth. I will assemble a new economic development team to work with existing local and regional businesses to vigorously pursue meaningful job creation. Our plan of action will be broader and more inclusive than any plan currently existing.
Key components to Muncie 2040—Economic Growth:
- Economic development support to existing local and regional businesses.
- Economic development prospects that are beneficial to citizens.
- Activities, spaces, and civic development that attracts people to live and work in Muncie (incorporate the efforts of Next Muncie and work hand-in-hand with the Office of Neighborhood Services).
- Building the capacity of Muncie Community School Corporation.
- Creation of Lifelong Learning Initiative impacting all ages.
- Creation of Regional Addictions Commission.
- Creation of the Indiana’s most robust jobs program for individuals who are physically and developmentally disabled.
Lifelong Learning Initiative
A community that embraces lifelong learning is a community that’s engaged. As your mayor, I will help support the efforts of local educational institutions and foundations to enhance the educational opportunities for our citizens. We are fortunate to have institutions of higher education, elementary, and secondary education, medical education, foundations, the Shafer Leadership Academy, and many non-profit organizations whose focus is people- and group-centered learning.
Regional Addictions Commission
Our community needs more intensive outpatient treatment programs and additional qualified mental health organizations. As your mayor, I will work with IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, local, state, and federal entities, as well as faith-based organizations to create an approach to addressing the needs of those suffering from addictions within our community and on a regional basis.