Jeff Robinson, city council president and Democratic candidate for Muncie mayor, announced his plans for the city’s infrastructure, an issue he claimed is “one of the biggest issues on the minds of our citizens.”
“This has been a problem long enough that it’s become a painful joke amongst our residents, as well as frequent visitors to Muncie,” he said during a campaign announcement Sept. 12 at the Delaware County Democrat Headquarters.
Robinson originally introduced his plan for Muncie’s infrastructure in November 2022 as he geared up for his race against incumbent Mayor Dan Ridenour. The three-step plan will be funded using a $25 million revenue bond. Robinson claimed the bond will not require any additional taxes or tax increases, and he hopes to complete this project in three years.
The plan consists of the Roadmap for Paving Muncie plan (RPM), Responsible Accessibility for Muncie Pedestrians Plan (RAMP) and the Street Department Focus.
RPM would focus $20 million on the improvement of 82 miles of road, and create a program with the intent to calm traffic and make neighborhoods in Muncie safe.
These roads include Riverside Avenue, University Avenue, Wheeling Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Memorial Drive, amongst others.
RAMP would dedicate $5 million to focus on sidewalks and accessibility to make these pathways compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The plan would also create an Accessibilities Planning and Oversight Committee. Robinson said that many of the sidewalks throughout Muncie are not navigable on foot, and are especially challenging for wheelchair users.
He said that in some areas in his city council district, which includes Ball State University, he can’t see where the sidewalks are. He added there should be an inventory of the sidewalks in the city.
“We have to do better and have a responsibility to ensure people can travel safely throughout the city,” Robinson said.
Robinson said his plan for the Street Department would focus on proactive maintenance while also keeping in mind the dozen or so employees working in the department . Proactive maintenance on the streets would include crack sealing, potholes and common maintenance services.
Robinson alleged that, under Ridenour’s administration, only 30 lane miles have been paved, and that the roads paved are not used by a majority of the city’s residences, leaving “a lot to be desired…the current administration’s paving plan is to simply put a band-aid on a broken arm.”
According to Ridenour’s campaign website, he claimed that his policies were responsible for “creating the city’s first in-house road crew” and the city had “paved three times as many roads as it does in an average year” in 2022.
“Taking the initiative and investing in our roads will actually help us with additional grant funding and matching funds,” Robinson said.
Robinson and Ridenour will appear in a forum Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Muncie Central High School Auditorium.
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