Warehouse reuse MadJax Makers Force proves its worth in Muncie

Posted by on May 11, 2022 in News | 0 comments

Warehouse reuse MadJax Makers Force proves its worth in Muncie

MadJax Makerforce was advanced through the efforts of NextMuncie and other Muncie community champions. Its core location adjacent to the Live-Learn Neighborhood make it key to the ongoing development of the Muncie education-workforce pipeline. (Graphic from Vandewalle & Associates.)

MUNCIE, IN – (WITH EXCERPTS FROM BALL STATE DAILY NEWS): A former 80,000-square-foot laundry facility holds limitless possibilities. 

The Madjax Maker Force  opened in 2016 to “foster a collaborative environment where people can explore and create at the intersection of science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics and culture,” according to its website. It is home to 35 businesses and hosts many Ball State classes and community meetings. Jane Ellery, secretary and treasurer of the Sustainable Muncie board, a nonprofit that manages the space, said this public space has even more potential for growth and innovation.

Though Madjax is now a celebrated downtown landmark and working space, Ellery, Ball State assistant professor of wellness management, said Sustainable Muncie faced a variety of challenges at the start of Madjax’s development, such as community disagreements with the building renovation, attracting anchor businesses and securing loans and grants. But Ellery and her fellow board members and colleagues were committed to building a makerspace. They knew it could offer community-building opportunities, as well as physical health and societal benefits, she said.

Madjax houses 35 businesses, which pay monthly rent or — work out trades for teaching classes or skills in exchange for their specific operating space. Todd Donati, former executive director of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission (MRC), said growth was slow but steady since the space started recruiting anchor businesses in 2014. 

Donati, who served on the MRC and Sustainable Muncie Board during this time, said Muncie needs Madjax and community workspaces to retain talented and educated people interested in starting businesses and innovating in the community.

“There are many other competitive communities that small businesses and young talent can choose from,” he said. “If we are to continue to grow our community through business development, create job opportunities and establish a commitment and willingness that Muncie welcomes and supports small business, we must be competitive in this area.”

Sustainable Muncie’s efforts focus on economic and environmental sustainability. Working to “revitalize a low- or moderate-income community,” Sustainable Muncie provides loans or free rent to businesses that provide classes to the public.

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