Construction starts on hotel in Muncie that will include job training center for the disabled


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MUNCIE, Indiana — Site excavation work has started for a new six-story hotel in downtown Muncie where an advocacy group for the disabled will provide hospitality-industry training to its clients.

The 150-room Courtyard by Marriott near the city's convention center will give Muncie a downtown hotel for the first time since the last one closed in 2006. The $29 million hotel will include shops operated by people with disabilities and a training center run by The Arc of Indiana, The Star Press reported ( ).

The hotel is expected to be open by next October, said Kim Dodson, associate executive director of The Arc of Indiana.

Other related downtown projects include construction of a 400-space city parking garage next to the hotel and work to reduce thousands of daily freight train whistles by closing or upgrading several downtown railroad crossings. Those projects are costing about $11 million.

During a March ceremony, Gov. Mike Pence called the hotel project unique in its potential to better the lives of the state's disabled workers, who face a high unemployment rate.

Mayor Dennis Tyler said the hotel and training center will be a boost to the city and the state as a whole.

"That people with disabilities can be trained and go back to their home communities and become employed in the hotel industry is great," Tyler said. "But we'll have a great hotel and $300,000 annually in property taxes alone. It's pretty exciting."

Information from: The Star Press,

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