In 1935 the Muncie Chamber of Commerce scheduled a series of 18 conferences to answer the question "How can we make Muncie better? Task forces were launched.
In July 2010, 2000 Muncie residents participated in brainstorming session in what was called the Muncie Action Plan. The question raised was “How can we make Muncie better?” Task forces were launched.
Think about it. Eighty-five years ago, Muncie “forefathers” took the time to set goals and strategize. Their suggestions and goals brought morale to Muncie and was key in the formation of who we are now.
When I read their list on page 435, In the Middletown book, by Robert and Helen Lynd, it reminded me of things I have read in our Muncie news today. The StarPress Muncie Journal have been reporting positiviely about our Muncie Action Plan that began my thoughts back to 8 years ago when we all got together to come up with similar things. We still have the same needs and we are still progressing. Here are some examples from 1935:
107 people suggested better traffic conditions, parking for businesses downtown, and widening streets, etc.
57 people brought up the need for better lighted streets. They wanted to see run-down homes bought and demolished. Amongst other things, clean up the river.
Other votes were for a coming together of civic clubs, and businesses through the Chamber and coordinating goals.
Help small industries; push campaign to “Buy where you earn your wages”.
Publicize the college. Point out historic spots. Put up billboards “You’ll Like Middletown”
I had to stop and think of the context of their evaluations. In spite of economic depression, Ball Memorial Hospital had recently been established. Industry and agriculture was foremost. . In 1935 average wages were $1600. A loaf of bread was 6 cents, a gallon of gas was 10 cents and a pound of hamburger, 11 cents. People barely had what they needed In the midst of that, there was a flurry of creative energy nationwide in 1935. Mickey Mouse’s first technicolor film was produced. Porky Pig was introduced. The game of Monopoly was released. The “swing” dance was birthed.
The Social Security Act was signed. Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. Volkswagen Beetle was launched. Amelia Earhart flew over the Pacific.
All of these mentionings are things we still have, and with much updating.
Fast forward 75 years to 2018. Out of hundreds of voices and brainstorming sessions, a plan has evolved to work on some of the same issues. It is called the Muncie Action Plan. It included new business attraction, improvement of our image, workforce education, more community planning, and early childhood education. And we haven't quit. There is still much more to do. Dealing with addiction is a big issue.
It all relates. Muncie has been faithful over the years to dream big and put feet to those dreams, especially in the midst of some hard times and financial depression.
What Ball Brothers started continues through the years and there is still a spirit of philanthropic endeavors. We continue to do what we can do with our non profits and businesses with business minded people. Art flourishes here. Yes, there are many sides to Muncie. Perseverance and giving are a part of our DNA.