#City & Town Planning
City Council and Mayor of Muncie Indiana
United States of America

All across the Midwest, metropolitan areas with less than half a million residents have and continue to lose population, while larger areas have grown by 9.8%. This is especially true in our community, where we've experienced a 40-year decline that has been accelerating at a pace faster than US Census Bureau predictions. Community recreational areas add value to all of our properties, and just as importantly, they provide us with green spaces for healthy fun for our children. In many ways pools, parks and green spaces become the heart of our communities and neighborhoods.

Like many middle-class neighborhoods built in the '50s and '60s, Halteman had a pool, neighborhood school, playground/park and tennis courts. In addition, the close proximity to shopping and retail made the area especially attractive to potential homeowners, many of them young families. After almost 60 years in operation, and even after receiving a contribution from the City of Muncie to help with operational costs, the Halteman Pool Club, Inc. made the difficult decision to permanently close the pool in May 2017. The age and condition of the pool, the lack of finances to make major needed repairs and improvements, as well as membership decline, all contributed to the Club's decision.

In August 2017, ownership of the property was transferred to the City of Muncie through a Quit Claim Deed, and the Halteman Pool Club dissolved shortly thereafter. However, this transaction occurred after the property already had been slated for auction/sale through the Delaware County Sheriff's tax sale, which was held in September 2017. It was during that sale when a local businessman purchased the tax certificate for the pool parcels. The issue with these parcels is because the neighborhood's sewer lines all converge under these properties, not much else can (should) be done with the land aside from some type of green space or recreational facility. We feel that the logical solution is for this land to remain under ownership by the City as a city park. As it now stands, the City has one year to reclaim the property from the tax certificate purchaser by paying the back taxes plus any interest/fees. The City's attorney has estimated this amount to be approximately $16-$18k, and we feel it is a relatively small upfront investment as far as economic development efforts go, with larger returns on the neighboring properties in the years to come. We are working against the clock, as the time period in which the City has to retain ownership expires September 28, 2018.

In December 2017, efforts began to revive the neighborhood association (separate entity from the Pool Club), and in July 2018, the Halteman Village Neighborhood Association reorganized and incorporated. We have been working hard to plead our case to the City regarding the disposition of this land. If we don't do something to stop the transfer of this property to give us time to work in partnership to repurpose it as a community/city-wide green space, playground or even a water park, our neighborhood will fail. Losing amenities such as pools, parks and green spaces has negative effects on the quality of place in our community, as well as our property values. Numerous studies show that potential home buyers consider good schools and nearby parks/recreational facilities as their top reasons for choosing a home, and are willing to commute farther away to/from work, if their neighborhood provides these amenities (even as far away as Fishers or Noblesville). With the recent closing of our neighborhood school, and now the pool, coupled with continued population decline, we are teetering on the edge. We feel our schools are now on the right track and we need to focus on stabilizing our neighborhoods. Positive change has to happen. In many cases, that change must begin at the neighborhood level. Neighborhoods are the backbone of our community. When one fails, we all fail. Likewise, when one succeeds, we all succeed. We can make a difference. But we can't do it alone. All the sweat-equity and fundraising that our neighborhood organization contributes will be all for naught if we/City loses control of the property. We need the support and intervention of the City to ultimately make this happen.

Please sign this and share with your neighbors. We need to collect as many signatures as possible before the next City Council meeting, September 10, 2018 at 7:15 pm, City Hall. Please spread the word, and please attend the meeting in support of this effort. Your voice counts!

We, the undersigned do hereby petition the City of Muncie to retain ownership of the Halteman Village Pool parcels for the purposes of a neighborhood amenity such as a park, playground, green space or water-type recreational facility. We request the City to pay the owner of the tax certificate the amount due on the property, plus any interest and fees, to retain the properties under the City's ownership. In addition, we request that City leaders continue a constructive dialogue and form a working partnership with the Halteman Village Neighborhood Assoc., Inc, to collaborate on a positive and amicable solution for renovating or repurposing and maintaining the property, that would be beneficial for all parties affected by the condition of this property. We believe this quality of place initiative is critical to the stabilization and revitalization of our neighborhood and surrounding community, as well as the continued success of our city as a whole.

This request specifically refers to the following property parcels:

Parcel ID - 0732181005000 (Alt Id - 18-07-32-181-005.000-003)
Address - 4205 N LANCASTER DR
Acres - 1.04
Value - $96,200


Parcel ID - 0732181010000 (Alt Id - 18-07-32-181-010.000-003)
Value - $40,400

The City of Muncie Indiana (government): Help Us Save Our Neighborhood! petition to City Council and Mayor of Muncie Indiana was written by Halteman Village Neighborhood Association, Inc. and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.