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About Muncie

Muncie is an incorporated city and the seat of Delaware County, Indiana. It is located in East Central Indiana, about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Indianapolis. The United States Census for 2010 reported the city's population was 70,085. It is the principal city of the Muncie metropolitan statistical area, which has a population of 117,671.

The Lenape (Delaware) people, who arrived in the area in the 1790s, founded several small villages, including one known as Munsee Town, along the White River. The small trading post, renamed Muncietown, was selected as the Delaware County seat and platted in 1827. Its name was officially shortened to Muncie in 1845 and incorporated as a city in 1865. Muncie developed as a manufacturing and industrial center, especially after the Indiana gas boom of the 1880s. It is home to Ball State University. As a result of the Middletown studies, sociological research that was first conducted in the 1920s, Muncie is said to be one of the most studied United States cities of its size.

From its early days as a regional trading center for the surrounding agricultural community to its first wave of industrial development brought on by the Indiana gas boom in the mid-1880s, Muncie has retained its ties to an industrial economy, and to a lesser extent its agricultural roots. In addition, the arrival of the forerunner to Ball State in the early twentieth century contributed to Muncie's development as an educational center, while Ball Memorial Hospital, established in 1929, led to the city's reputation as a healthcare center for east-central Indiana.

 

Muncie's major industrial development included glass manufacturing, iron and steel mills, and automobile manufacturing and auto parts factories. Among its early major employers was the Ball Corporation, established by the Ball brothers of Buffalo, New York, who opened a glass factory in Muncie in 1888. Other notable manufacturers in addition to the Ball Corporation with operations in Muncie have included BorgWarner, The Broderick Company (aformer division of Harsco), Dayton-Walther Corporation, Delco Remy, General Motors, New Venture Gear, Hemingray Glass Company, Ontario Corporation, A. E. Boyce Company, Indiana Steel and Wire, and Westinghouse Electric.

 

Changing industrial trends caused shifts in the city's economic development. As in many mid-sized cities in the Rust Belt, deindustrialization, which began in the 1960s, impacted Muncie's economy. Several manufacturing plants closed or moved elsewhere. From 2001 to 2011, Muncie lost thousands of jobs[53] as the city continued transitioning from a blue-collar workforce to a white-collar service economy primarily based on health care, education, and retail.

 

Muncie has attracted some new manufacturers, while older factories have been converted to other industrial uses. In 2009 Muncie became the U.S. headquarters for Brevini Wind, an Italian-based company that manufactures gearboxes for wind turbines.[53][55] In 2011 locomotive maker Progress Rail Services (a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc.) opened in a former Westinghouse facility that had been vacant since 1998.

 

The local economy is a controversial topic among Munsonians. While many older unemployed or underemployed residents strongly identify with the manufacturing identity of the city, newer residents identify with the city's shift towards educational and health services. Contention is greatest among residents living in the once-industrialized sections of the city's south side, as much of the economic growth over that last few decades has taken place on Muncie's north side. The city also struggles to retain college graduates. Despite Ball State's presence, only 32.2 percent of Delaware County's working-age adults (ages 25–64) hold a two-year or four-year college degree, which is below the national average.

 

The first decade of the 21st century saw a cultural shift toward local businesses and economic empowerment, boosted by the Muncie Downtown Development Partnership and the residents, patrons, and business owners of the downtown community. In 2007, Muncie was rated the most affordable college town in America by real estate company Coldwell Banker. In 2015, Forbes ranked Muncie 27th among small places for business and careers and 18th for cost of doing business. First Merchants Corporation is based in Muncie, and the first Scotty's Brewhouse location opened in the city in 1996.