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Meridian in the News

Apartments for homeless open downtown

May 26

Written by:
Tuesday, May 26, 2015  RssIcon

from The Star Press

MUNCIE – Construction is winding down on an $8.4 million downtown apartment building that was chased out of a southside neighborhood.

One of the tenants is an alcoholic man suffering from mental disorders/brain injuries who had been sleeping behind some shrubbery near the front entrance of a building along Tillotson Avenue.

Walnut Commons, at Walnut and Wysor streets, is the city's first supportive housing project, aimed at reintegrating chronically homeless people into the community through a combination of housing and services.

"It's a radical, radical idea: solving homelessness by giving people a home," said the project's owner, Cullen Davis, a Chicago-based developer of affordable housing.

The sod hasn't been laid, the lawn irrigation system hasn't been installed and other final construction touches remain, but 10 men and 18 women already have moved into the 44-unit building.

They had been residing at the YWCA, the Muncie Mission, in cars, on the streets, under bridges, in abandoned housing and along the Cardinal Greenway.

Walnut Commons is a three-story, energy-efficient, brick and fiber-cement-siding structure that includes a gym with Nordic Track bikes and treadmills, a computer lab, a patio with a pergola, a TV lounge with kitchen equipment, laundry rooms, bike racks; storage cages, bedbug-resistant furniture, well-hidden security cameras inside and out, heat lamps in the restrooms, intercoms in each apartment to communicate with visitors trying to enter the locked building and bars between the kitchens/living rooms with bar stools on the living room side.

In addition, there is a fenced-in, storm-water management bio-retention basin with "live walls" out of which grow crested iris, creeping myrtle vines and grassy-leaved sweetflag. Black gum, red maple, serviceberry and redbud trees surround the apartment building.

Oh, and there is also a medical clinic in the building, Meridian MD, with its own separate sign and entrance, that will serve the neighborhood in addition to the tenants.

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