An Urban Planning Study Essay, Research Paper
An Urban Planning Study
The region of study we have chosen, Tillotson, south from University to Jackson, east on Jackson to McKinley, is of major importance to the Muncie area. This locale is home to the communities medical care facilities, as well as commercial and residential properties. The Ball Memorial Hospital is an employer to over 2500 people in the area. In addition, numerous facilities within the medical campus provide supplemental care facilities to the community of Muncie and its surrounding areas. To the south of the medical campus, the intersection of Tillotson and Jackson, a diverse number of commercial properties exist. These businesses provide numerous services, ranging from pharmacy and convenience stores to gas stations and auto repair. As Jackson moves to the east, residential properties and independently owned businesses become more prominent. These residential properties are for the most part rental units directed towards the student population of Muncie.
The majority of activity that exists in the area is related to Ball Memorial Hospital and the surrounding medical facilities. As a result of the medical facilities, the area s commercial ventures benefit from the flow of traffic. Tillotson is a major north south thoroughfare, connecting the southwest sector of Muncie and any traffic off of State Road 332. Jackson is a major east-west boulevard connecting the downtown area through the west side of town. This provides access for the residential area of Jackson Street to various other commercial services through a major access road. In addition, the St. Mary s Catholic Church is a spiritual cornerstone for the students of the university as well as the community. In short, a variety of activities occur within this sector of Muncie, providing medical, commercial, residential, and spiritual services.
The majority of traffic is created by the existence of the medical campus and Ball Memorial Hospital. The surrounding convenience shops benefit from this influx of traffic. Traffic congests at rush hour due to the fact that Tillotson remains a major north-south road and Jackson still exists as a main thoroughfare of east-west travel.
This area of town has experienced numerous changes throughout the past five to ten years. The location of the hospital has influenced several outpatient and supplemental medical services to develop in the proximity. This is evident by the copious amounts of independent medical service providers in the surrounding area. This is expected to continue, especially with the recent addition of the Edward E. Ball Cancer Research Center.
The increase in medical facilities and outpatient services warranted new commercial ventures over the past several years. The CVS pharmacy, with its late hour food mart, the Speedway gas station and several nearby financial institutions are proof of such development.
Unfortunately, the area s residential units have not experienced as much of a windfall in growth. Very little new construction is apparent in the area, and the existing units show minimal signs of rehabilitation. The residential area merely seems to have been maintained in order to facilitate its purpose as rental property. These rental properties are mainly directed towards the student population.
Development is expected to continue within the medical complex, leading to more commercial development at the intersection of Jackson and Tillotson. This development will however more than likely lead to the demise or relocation of several entrepreneurs in the area of the Jackson and Tillotson intersection. The small businesses along Jackson that exist within the predominantly residential area will more than likely persevere with continued local support. These smaller businesses along Jackson maintain a lower overhead and require less income to survive; the newer establishments that will inhabit the Jackson and Tillotson intersection will demand higher traffic flow in order to maintain the higher total costs.
The housing that exists in the area will more than likely continue as rental properties, leading one to believe that very minimal new construction will occur, merely maintenance and small-scale rehabilitation of existing properties. A lack of permanent residents in the area leads to weaker community strength, therefore, the residents have less concern towards community activities and development.
On the other hand, St. Mary s Cathedral sees the development of the community as a major point of concern. This is due to the fact that the diocese can play a primary role in the development in the community due to their major land holding. In reference, the property which the cathedral encompasses is nearly equivalent to that of Ball Memorial Hospital.
The development of the medical campus proves to be beneficial to the surrounding area for several reasons. The medical facilities are a major draw to the area, as many people come from surrounding areas in order to benefit from the services provided in Muncie. The medical facilities provide a sound employment base for professionals as well as lower wage employees. The hospital operates in large part through community support and private contributions. Based on this the hospital has an increased sense of community consciousness.
The area also supports several commercial endeavors, consisting of convenience stores, restaurants, gas stations, and financial institutions. The development of the medical campus is a plus for the community; however, it leads to an unbalanced development in the commercial arena. This growth has a tendency to cause an increase in property values and drive out the small businessman. Therefore, many small businesses near the intersection of Jackson and Tillotson will be forced to relocate in order to continue operation, or cease operations altogether in order to avoid rising overhead costs.
The businesses that exist along Jackson will have a good chance to survive due to local support created over the years. However, due to the fact that the residential population is predominantly student based, the local support of such businesses is decreased.
In determining whether or not developments within a community are positive or negative, one must develop certain criteria. In the case of the study site, money is brought into the community not only through the medical complex, but also through the predominantly student based rental population. The student factor can be both positive and negative due to the fact that they due bring substantial amounts of outside money into the community; they have no real vested interest in the community as a whole.
In order to promote what is best for the community, diversity needs to be promoted within the Jackson Street residential area. Muncie needs to persuade more owner-occupation within the district in order to instill a greater sense of community consciousness. This will enable the neighborhood to keep a strong foothold on the community and remain an integral part of the whole. The hospital is an important part of the community and its continued growth plays a major role in the positive development of the area.
Within a city certain areas have unmentionable impact upon the city. Changes that occur within the community, be they positive or negative, affect the community as a whole. At times these changes are for the betterment of the community, at times they are merely to benefit the few. The majority of the changes that have occurred within this community of Muncie have been for the betterment of the society as a whole, with the intent of future growth of the city.