Muncie seeking developer for $48M riverfront project

The city of Muncie has released details of what it wants developers to build as part of a $48 million plan to develop its riverfront.

Details of the proposed White River Canal District are laid out in a request for development proposals that the city recently sent to commercial developers.

But the city "is leaving it to developers to use their imagination," Mayor Dennis Tyler told the Star Press of Muncie.

The request for proposals calls for three phases of development on 10 acres, with ground-breaking beginning in the fourth quarter of 2016. The city wants the project to include a boardwalk, public plazas, pedestrian bridge, restaurants, commercial space and residential buildings.

The redevelopment is aimed at "the lack of high-quality urban housing with modern amenities (that) often contributes to brain drain and talent attraction and retention challenges."

The White River Canal District will be located near the new Courtyard hotel, Tuhey Park, and greenway connections to Minnetrista, Ball State University and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. The 10-acre site includes the block-long Liberty Pass canal, which opened last fall as part of the Muncie Sanitary District's downtown stormwater system.

City officials have said a mix of private and public funding will be used to cover the cost associated with the project.

"The proposed boardwalk, public plazas, pedestrian bridge (over White River) and complete streets will be funded through TIF (tax increment financing)," according to the request for proposals.

A request by the city for funds to cover a portion of the project wasn't successful in last year's Indiana Regional Cities Initiative competition.

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