Ball State urban design instructor says Village "needs work"

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When Village Promenade opened in 2014, the main goal was to get more community members in the village rather than just Ball State students. It's 2016, and progress is moving slow.

Shortly after The Promenade opened, owners asked The Caffeinery if they were interested in providing a coffee solution for their tenants.

Initially the promenade wanted a coffee kiosk but The Caffeinery wanted to put in a shop instead. After a long 14 months, the owners decided to terminate the project and not open the location.

Frank Reber, The Caffeinery co-owner, said in a press release, "We decided it was no longer in our best interest to pursue a business venture at the Village Promenade location," Reber said. "In the end, the whole experience came down to community and long-term relationships."

Despite this change of plans, new businesses have moved into the village like "Brothers Bar and Grill" and "Lets Spoon Frozen Yogurt."

Todd Donati, Executive Director of Muncie Redevelopment, said he did anticipate to meet his goal quicker but explained the village is still developing.

"Our intent is to develop more business in that area, but it takes time, " Donati said.

Hema Pandya, Ball State Urban Design Instructor, said although the businesses are important, so is the urban design. She explained the area is made for people to drive through and keep going rather then stopping to enjoy the village.

"It should have a biking route, a walk path. It should have trees on the street and benches. You want the walkers, you want the older people walking," Pandya said.

She explained the amount of children that are attracted to the village also has a big impact on reaching this goal.

"You want to bring in the community like parents and little children. Children are apart of the biggest impact of the downtown," Pandya said.

Pandya also said there all businesses in the village that are doing a good job of attracting the community. She stressed more work needs to be done if they plan to reach their end goal.

There are several empty buildings in the village that are ready for new businesses to move in.

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