By: Samantha Turner
Westside Park specifically is one of the larger parks with 20.65 acres, labeled as a community park owned by the City of Muncie, and has sports facilities along with other recreational equipment listed. The two areas that are most interesting to note are the rated conditions and the ADA, of which Westside was listed as “good to poor” for the conditions and ADA still needs to be assessed (p. 35). Within the ADA section of the plan, outside of the Table 5 chart, it was noted that Muncie has an American with Disabilities Act Transition and Implementation Plan focused on Heekin, Westside, and McCullough. The plan will work on improving paths, bathrooms, activity areas, amenities and signage, and parking to create a more inclusive environment. With the Greenway Trail right next to the park, the paves trail was helpful in terms of accessibility (p. 35). People with disabilities have the option to use mobile devices on the paved pathway to enjoy the river front and surrounding greenery. Noted in a park review by a wheelchair user, the Westside Park shelters near the trail were also relatively accessible, but more in-depth reviews still need to be conducted for the playground and public bathroom areas (P 2021).
One of the most notable data points seen within the survey and the Muncie Park plans was the relationship Westside has with the White River Greenway trail. As mentioned within the Park Plans, this trail connects seven city parks (including Westside) with 5.5 miles of trail. Within one of the survey questions, “where do you recreate the most in Muncie” the results showed that recreational use was very close to recreational use of the greenway trail, potentially suggesting that Westside as an access point to this trail may correlate to park and trail usage.
In addition to this, throughout the semester, none of our field research noted use of the flying fields within Westside. This area has been dedicated for people with remote controller small airplanes to use as flying runways and landing strips, but the usage for this space is limited. The Muncie Parks staff have noted this and are now trying to find funding to create a skatepark in this area. Muncie has no dedicated skatepark within its city limits, and with a large college population and young residents, the implementation of this skatepark may increase Ball State student involvement within Muncie Parks, as well as provide a safe space for younger Muncie residents to go to. Now there are plans for a skatepark to be implemented into Westside in the next Muncie Parks and Recreation five-year plan. The Parks and Recreation department is looking for roughly $300,000 in funding for a new skatepark to replace the airplane fields in Westside (Ohlenkamp 2021).
City of Muncie2021-2025 Parks and Recreation Master Plan (2021). https://www.cityofmuncie.com/egov/documents/1618333972_6161.pdf
Ohlenkamp, Corey. May 20, 2021. “Muncie Earmarks Federal Funds for Hospitality Industry, Budget Shortfalls, Other Areas.” The Star Press. Muncie Star Press. https://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2021/05/20/muncie-indiana-american-rescue-plan-stimulus-funds-earmarks-hospitality-industry-budget-shortfalls/5182407001/.
P, Richard. January 26, 2021. “Westside Park – Muncie, IN.” Yelp. https://www.yelp.com/biz/westside-park-muncie.