By: Sierra Runion
The Muncie Parks and Recreation Board creates a plan every five years to evaluate and update the city parks. This plan allows the Board to calculate the costs of reconstruction, plan applications for grants, and gain perspectives and opinions from the Muncie community. Reviewing these 5-Year plans allows the community to understand what could possibly happen in a short time to their parks as well as show where they are able to support the parks.
I looked into the last plan that was published in 2014 and the current plan that was published in April of 2021.
In the 2014 plan, Tuhey is widely mentioned for its well-known pool and waterpark. A lot of the plan restates facts about Tuhey such as the multiple reconstructions it has gone under. Tuhey was under construction when ADA parking accessibility was recommended in some of the parks (2014 Parks and Recreation Plan pg. 93.) Tuhey park is one of the few parks in Muncie that has handicap equipment and accessibility.
The 2014 plan states the demographics of Muncie to gain a visual of who might partake in the usage of the park. Below are two charts. The first chart shows the age distribution in Muncie while the second shows ethnicity and race demographics.
|Black or African American||7,397||11.0%||7,655||10.9%||3.5%|
|American Island and Alaska Native||183||0.3%||203||0.3%||10.9%|
|Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander||62||0.1%||42||0.1%||32.2%|
|Two or more races||1,004||1.5%||1,951||2.8%||94.3%|
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census 2000 and 2010
Knowing who is using the parks most allows for the Muncie Parks and Recreation to enhance the parks to what the community desires. An example of this was the large number of college students, who hang out in the park, desired a skatepark (2014 Parks and Recreation Plan pg. 111.) This request was taken from a survey response. The Parks and Recreation Board had the opportunity to focus on something that would be used consistently and could have helped in fewer restorations of sidewalks around the city of Muncie. We know Tuhey doesn’t have a skatepark, but we cannot rule out the desire that the community has to see one somewhere near the University.
In April of 2021, Tuhey park was mentioned notably less than in the 2014 plans. The only mentions of Tuhey Park were in relation to the White River Greenway, comments from the community, and an inventory section that states that this 8.34-acre park is in “Good” condition (2021 Five Year Plan.) With the noticeable lack of information given in the 2021 plan, the class turned their questions towards board member Shannon Powers. Powers is a Muncie Parks and Recreation Board member, who was sworn in on the Board in January of 2021. Powers explained the future plans for the parks and why certain information was left out of the 2021 Master Plan. The only mentions of Tuhey Park were in relation to the White River Greenway and an inventory section that states that this 8.34-acre park is in “Good” condition (2021 Five Year Plan pg. 38.) With the noticeable lack of information given in the 2021 plan, the class turned their questions towards board member Shannon Powers.
Tuhey certainly isn’t going out of style because Powers said that it had, “over 70,000 visitors in the 3 months that the pool was opened.” This fact must be stated because we still see discontent within the community attending Tuhey. There were plenty of people interviewed that had a lot to say about their dissatisfaction with the park. So why was there a lack of comments in the 2021 plan for Tuhey Park? Powers believes that funding is the main issue for parks like Tuhey. With the rejection of the Land Water Conservation Fund grant, Tuhey lost the opportunity for $60,000 worth of renovations.
Even though there have been a few disappointing outcomes with the advancements of Tuhey Park, there are plenty of achievable goals for Muncie parks in the Parks and Recreation Plan for 2021. Some of these goals are listed below.
- Goal 1: Explore enhancing and developing recreation and environmental education programs with special consideration given to activities that improve health and wellness
- Goal 2: Following guidelines from the existing ADA transition plans, improve the park system’s recreational facilities to ensure accessibility in all parks for persons of all abilities both mentally and physically
- Goal 3: Create a community with diverse, attractive, and inspiring parks and greenways that enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the community and provide key multi-modal transportation linkages.
- Goal 4: Improve community recreation resources through cooperative efforts with agencies and adjoining governmental units in providing the public with parks, recreation facilities, and programming.
Tuhey is important to the Muncie community, and by default, the Ball State community, because it shows how all types of people can come together in a public area and feel welcomed. Will all it has to offer, it’s not all surprising that this small park has raving reviews with a welcoming atmosphere. You can experience fireworks on the Fourth of July, sledding down hills in the cold of winter, or swimming in the pool during the heat of summer. Whether you are enjoying the park with family, friends, co-workers, or through an organization Tuhey will give you something to talk about.
The City of Muncie’s 5- Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan (2014). https://www.co.delaware.in.us/egov/documents/1412093176_99175.pdf
City of Muncie2021-2025 Parks and Recreation Master Plan (2021). https://www.cityofmuncie.com/egov/documents/1618333972_6161.pdf
Muncie Parks Department- Parks and Recreation Board (2021). https://www.cityofmuncie.com/department/index.php?structureid=27