Former Muncie school site could become new ‘Storer Estates’ accommodation
MUNCIE, Ind. – For a year now, plans for a neighborhood on the former site of the Storer Primary School have been underway, as city authorities have worked closely with residents of the neighborhood. In a meeting on Tuesday night, “Storer Estates” came close to reality.
About 30 community members gathered at the Northside Church of God to hear what is currently planned for the site and to provide commentary on potential walking trails, playgrounds and other aspects of the development’s green spaces. .
From the name of the neighborhood to the type of houses that would be housed there, the contribution of the community was essential as the developments progressed.
Built in 1959 as a college, Storer was transformed into an elementary school in 1988 and closed in 2017 as Muncie community schools adjusted to declining enrollment and income. The city agreed in 2018 to buy the property, have the building demolished and continue with the new development of the site.
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Demolition finally began in 2019, and since then the land in the middle of a residential neighborhood west of Tillotson Avenue has remained empty.
As the Storer Estates project draws closer to the call for tenders, here is what is planned for the new neighborhood:
Solve two problems with a neighborhood
The proposed subdivision on the land of the former primary school will create up to 34 lots for houses, with the idea of creating single-family homes across the region by selling lots to individual builders.
The design of the neighborhood itself will help solve two problems: the lack of housing available for sale in Muncie and the flooding that has plagued the area.
Mayor Dan Ridenour told the crowd on Tuesday night that a neighborhood planning commission had helped work out the rules and restrictions for homes under construction and what would happen with green spaces.
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In previous plans, Ridenour noted that a retention pond was going to be added to help with flood control. However, officials concluded that the development will need to use a dry bed water retention area instead of a wet bed retention pond based on the results of a water and soil test.
City engineer Brian Stephens-Hotopp explained that in the plan there are several entrances along the arteries, even north of where Storer Estates is being developed. The water collection will be done through these inlets, main pipes and storm sewers, and will go to the dry basin.
“We are looking to reduce the flooding at Hiatt Ditch by almost 80% or more,” Stephens-Hotopp said. “So it’s also a kind of regional detention center. “
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Jason Miller, president and director of engineering at RMA, a local engineering and surveying company chosen to design the project, also attended the meeting. He said the dry basin will be mostly grass and will include side slopes so residents can descend when the pond is empty.
The total depth of the basin is currently designed to be four feet and has the capacity to drain three feet of water in 48 hours. For faster storms, Miller said the water would dissipate in 30 minutes to an hour.
While the walking trail systems have yet to be finalized, Miller has included a trail around the perimeter of the dry basin, as well as a trail that potentially goes into the basin. When providing feedback at the meeting, various community members asked if there could be lighting around the trail for those who walk at night.
“The overall concept would be to have a perimeter footpath that crosses the entire perimeter of the pond and provides connectivity to the north, to the existing road, and then east, to the existing sidewalks,” Miller said.
Speaking of the homes, Miller said the 34 lots would be about a quarter of an acre, 80 feet wide and 120 feet deep. They will be located south of the causeway and north of Hiatt Ditch on the old school property. Sidewalks are also part of the project budget, as are underground electrical services.
On the north side of the pond, Stephens-Hotopp noted that around 10 lots will need to be raised to avoid the floodplain. South of the pond there will be a 75 foot buffer that cannot be built on as it is part of a 75 foot regulated drainage easement that is used by the county to access and maintain the pond. Hiatt ditch. However, this area can still be used as a green space for the neighborhood.
There are also plans for a park east of the Dry Basin. The designs, which are still conceptual and open for public input, included play equipment and a small pavilion.
When asked if the proposed park was within the project’s budget, Ridenour said yes. If community members want more amenities or amenities, however, they will have to fundraise themselves.
“If this particular neighborhood, and the others around, want to help improve the playground, then we have a great example is Halteman (Village) where they have been able to improve their park,” said Ridenour.
There will be no parking spaces for the playground, as it is intended for use by nearby residents.
What’s next for Storer Estates?
After an evening full of community commentary at the Northside Church of God, city officials and RMA will make final adjustments to the Storer Estates plan.
From there, the project will be available for bidding, which officials predict within three to seven weeks. During the meeting, Stephens-Hotopp said there were no restrictions on who could bid, that the project would not be rated and that Storer Estates would go to the lowest bidder.
“It would be wonderful if we could bring in a local excavator general contractor to do this job,” Stephens-Hotopp said. “But there are no restrictions one way or the other.”
Once a contractor has been chosen, the dishes could be formalized and individual bonds could potentially be sold to home builders or to people interested in building a home.
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Before the houses were built, Miller said the dry basin would be built, followed by roads and sidewalks. Although an exact construction schedule has not yet been established, officials hope to pave the way by the end of the year.
“We are still far from the completion of things, but we certainly hope that we will still be innovating later this year, or at least under contract with a general contractor by the end of the year”, Stephens-Hotopp.
At the end of the meeting, neighborhood members were able to sign up for a mailing list to stay up to date on the project and communicate any additional convenience they might wish to see.
To join the list, contact Erin Moore at [email protected]
Charlotte Stefanski is a reporter for The Star Press. Contact her at 765-283-5543, [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @CharStefanski.