A confident and optimistic Muncie Mayor Dan Canan delivered his state of the city address Tuesday morning in which he talked about an increased positive relationship between Muncie and Ball State University.
Muncie has been divided by clear geographical boundries (White River, railroad tracks, et al.) and glaring racial divides since its founding. Ball State was thrown into the middle of this divided town much later.
Muncie consists of several subsections. The South Side of Muncie has its own culture, featuring an eclectic mix of blue-collar workers, poverty and subcultures containing neighborhoods with colorful names such as "Shedtown." The past has shown that these subcultures don't even get along with each other, much less the entire North Side. Racial tensions and economic struggles evolved into a general loathing of all things different on the South Side. This is the way of things.
The North Side of Muncie has its own culture, if one can call retail and restaurant saturation "culture." Scattered around the North Side of Muncie are stand-alone communities such as DeSoto and Royerton. Neither of these communities is "unified" with any community on the South Side, or even with each other (school system organization notwithstanding).
Many North Side residents don't go to the South Side for any reason - and the same is true for South Side residents. North-siders stay on the North Side, south-siders stay on the South Side. This is the way of things in Muncie - the way it has been for decades.
Canan's optimism is commendable, albeit a tad unrealistic. If Canan wants to unify Ball State and Muncie, he needs to unify Muncie first with job opportunities and a realistic vision for the future.