SWOT is an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats specific to a place or area. Of these four categories, strengths and opportunities are positive aspects while weakness and threats are negative aspects. Strengths and weaknesses are primarily focused on the neighborhood’s internal conditions, and opportunities and threats are mostly focused on factors outside but influencing the neighborhood. A SWOT analysis is a good tool to identify the helpful and harmful aspects of existing conditions and to have a better understanding of a project.
Area 1 is located in the northwestern area of the neighborhood. It is bounded by the CSX rail lines on the north, S. Perkins Ave. and S. Samson Avenue on the east, W. Memorial Drive on the south and S. Batavia Avenue on the west.
There are many potential retail opportunities located within Area 1 of Thomas Park/Avondale. Located within area 1, there are two large vacant structures that could be used by local businesses. One of the potential retail opportunities is located below.
Figure 1 – Photo of former Annie’s Pizza. Photo: Beth Neville.
Area 1 has a great deal of civic pride. The area has murals located on walls throughout the neighborhood. Residents have a great deal of pride in their country and their community.
Figure 2 – Photo of a mural found in Thomas Park/Avondale. Photo: Beth Neville.
Many residents of Area 1 are long-term homeowners. Some of these residents have been in the neighborhood for over 50 years. Residents are dedicated to the neighborhood, and according to the survey data, many know their neighbors.
Eagle Area #231- Fraternal Order of Eagle
The northwestern corner of Area 1 contains the Fraternal Order of Eagle #231. This fraternal order is an international nonprofit focused on liberty, truth, justice, and equality.
Vacant Homes & Blighted Buildings
Area 1 suffers from a high number of vacant and abandoned homes.
Many blocks in Area 1 lack any kind of sidewalk. The few sidewalks found within the neighborhood are often poorly maintained and vegetation nearby can create a difficult walking situation. Alleys throughout the area are unpaved, contain major potholes, and experience pooling issues during rain storms.
Negative and Offensive Imagery
While walking the neighborhood, visitors may notice a number of confederate flags hanging on flagpoles and within windows of homes. This type of imagery may make visitors feel unwelcome. Additionally, many of the sidewalks have been vandalized with images of swastikas.
Close to Major Access Roads
Area 1 within the Thomas Park Avondale neighborhood is located near major roads that provide easy access to downtown, the university, and other local amenities. Thomas Park Avondale is conveniently located and is well connected to the rest of Muncie.
Business Located Along Rail Line – Business Incentives
The rail line located on the northwestern side of Thomas Park Avondale provides a major business opportunity for the neighborhood. The lines are highly trafficked and provide direct service to [specific locations].
The population of Muncie has been declining since the mid-20th century. The overall city decline will make it difficult to sustain a population within the older neighborhoods like Thomas Park Avondale.
Like many cities, Muncie has lost a large percentage of its population due to suburbanization and sprawl. If older neighborhoods like Thomas Park Avondale are to thrive, the city will need to work on attracting more people near the city core.
Two of the factories located within Area 1 are no longer functioning. The buildings now sit vacant. If businesses continue to move out of Thomas Park Avondale, the area may experience decline.
Like many communities throughout Indiana, areas of Muncie are experiencing a severe drug problem. Neighborhood houses are often used as places to produce drugs. These houses often must be destroyed due to the high concentrations of toxins. This can create an increase in the number of vacant lots in a neighborhood, decrease residents’ feelings of safety, cause potential health issues, and negatively impact neighborhood reputation.
Existing Conditions Maps
The below maps were created to assist the neighborhood in understanding its zoning, current building conditions, and current inventory. The zoning map shows where certain land uses are allowed. In Muncie, it is important to note that a zone such as community business will allow those establishment allowed within the community business zone as well as all less intense uses such as residential uses. Also, some might notice that their homes are zoned for a commercial use. This just means that the current land use is residential, but a commercial building could be developed on the property if desired.
The building conditions map shows the conditions of not only the building on the property, but also the property itself. A poor condition might mean that there exists on the property litter, overgrowth of weeds and grass, dilapidated structures, etc.
The inventory map shows the locations of such things as signs, hydrants, pot holes, curb ramps, and street trees among others.
The creation of these maps further assists the residents of TPA in understanding the neighborhood’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats by allowing the residents to visualize these qualities.