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Muncie mayoral forum shows different strategies for city growth

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Community, Government, Local News, Politics
Republican Mayor Dan Ridenour and Democrat City Council President Jeff Robinson pose for photos after a mayoral forum. (Photo: Stephanie Wiechmann)

The two candidates vying to be Muncie’s mayor met on stage at Muncie Central High School Wednesday night to show voters their plans for the city.  As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, that includes different strategies to grow Muncie.

Republican Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour and Democrat Muncie City Council President Jeff Robinson both already have responsibility for helping to direct Muncie’s present and future.

But when asked about making Muncie attractive to outsiders, the two verbally agreed to disagree.

Robinson says the city first needs to build a desirable community.

“What we need to be doing is focusing on our roads, our sidewalks.  We need to make sure we’re preserving and maintaining the current parks that we have.  If we don’t make this, if we don’t focus as a city government on the basic responsibilities of a city government, we will never attract residents.”

Read More: Muncie mayor hopeful releases road paving plan that requires borrowing money

Ridenour believes the community is already desirable and now needs to focus on economic development.

“We have proven people want to move here.  They want to move here because we have a good, accepting community.  That’s why they want to be here.  That’s why I moved here.  The people were friendly, the people were nice.  And it has great amenities.  Economic development is about encouraging people to invest.”

Read More: Muncie State of the City: Fire station rebuilds, crisis center, and Ridenour’s highlights

During the hour-long forum, the audience asked questions on housing and blight, infrastructure and economic development, addiction and education, and ethics and bipartisanship.

The two candidates were also asked what they believe to be Muncie’s biggest problem.  Robinson believes it’s drug addiction and mental health, which he says can stem from Muncie’s high poverty rate.  Ridenour says the city needs to keep financially stable, which he believes can answer all future problems.

Next Wednesday, September 20, the League of Women Voters will hold another non-partisan forum at Muncie Central High School.  This time, candidates for city clerk, city court judge, and at-large city council seats will answer questions.  It begins at 7 PM.

The deadline to register to vote in this year’s election is October 10.

Stephanie Wiechmann is our Managing Editor and “All Things Considered” Host.  Contact her at slwiechmann@bsu.edu.