The City of Bloomington is re-opening Kirkwood Avenue to vehicles from Walnut to Indiana after Oct. 31. Portions of the street have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow businesses – mostly restaurants – to have more space to serve customers outside.
Also ending is the "parklet" program, which cordoned off parking spaces with orange barriers to allow for extra outside seating, and the restricted parking spots designated as pick-up/drop-off zones.
City staff are preparing a proposal for Bloomington Council to consider restarting the partial Kirkwood closures and parklet program in 2022, from mid-March through October. Kaisa Goodman is the point person for the proposal, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Lee Marchant, a local businessman who has served on the Monroe County Convention Center Building Corporation Board of Directors and was president since its inception 30 years ago, resigned in August. The announcement was made at the board's Sept. 7 meeting.
"We just really are deeply moved by Lee's leadership and we thank him so very much for that," said Jim Murphy, the board's vice president. The Building Corporation Board oversees the Convention Center facilities and operations.
At the Sept. 7 meeting, the group also elected new officers. They are: Cindy Kinnarney, president; Jim Murphy, vice president; Jerry Neely, treasurer; and Joyce Poling, secretary.
The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association is seeking applicants to serve on its board, which meets monthly. The applicant must live in the BUEA zone and be affiliated with the non-dominant political party. (In Bloomington, the Democratic Party is the dominant political party.)
More information about the BUEA's work and how to apply can be found at https://bloomington.in.gov/business/buea.
On July 27, the Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners approved a contract extension with Marshall Security, a private firm, to provide extended security coverage in downtown area parks. The unarmed guards would be staffed in shifts from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Last month the board approved an initial contract with Marshall for one shift at Switchyard Park, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Tim Streets, operations and development division director, told the board that there had been numerous security incidents during daytime hours throughout other parks and on the B-Line Trail, including physical altercations, unconscious persons, assault, and destruction of public property. In addition to Switchyard Park, the security guards will now patrol these parks: RCA Park, Seminary Park, B-Line Trail, Building Trades Park, Butler Park, Crestmont Park, Miller Showers Park and Third Street Park.
This new contract of $52,500 runs through Dec. 31 and adds to the previous contract of $60,588. The funding will come from the city's share of CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funds. This is the first time that the parks department has hired private security for regular patrols
Watch the discussion on CATS here. Read the staff memo here.
The City of Bloomington is seeking responses to an RFQ (request for qualifications) for managing the Waldron Art Center. The deadline to respond is 12 p.m. on Friday, August. 13.
The city wants an entity "to manage the city-owned facility as an arts center for no less than five years, embrace the facility’s core users (including WFHB, community artists, and arts organizations), conduct joint marketing efforts with these stakeholders, lead fundraising activities, maintain the structure and its building systems, and actively pursue community outreach for diversity and to build audiences."
Read the RFQ here.
Bloomington Council has approved the extension of programs that support downtown businesses, including "parklets," designated pick-up/drop-off zones, and the closing of parts of Kirkwood Avenue.
The extension, intended to support downtown businesses as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, extends through Oct. 31, 2021. Councilmembers unanimously voted to approve it at their June 2 meeting. Watch the council's deliberations on CATS here. Read the related meeting materials here.
An analysis of first-floor commercial space in downtown Bloomington was the focus of a 2021 Capstone project by Indiana University O'Neill School students.
The report makes several recommendations, including:
Read the full report here, or watch a presentation on the report here.
The City of Bloomington's Waldron Recommendation Task Force has issued its report for future uses of the historic building at 122 South Walnut. The ownership of the building reverted from Ivy Tech Community College to the city in January 2021.
The three main recommendations are:
Read the full report here.
Much of Kirkwood Avenue between Walnut and Indiana will be closed to vehicular traffic from March 25 through June 30, to allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining.
The section between Washington and Grant will remain open, as will a half block between Washington and the alley behind the Book Corner. That will allow CVS, located at the corner of Kirkwood and Washington, to have access for its COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
North-south cross streets and intersections will remain open.
The City of Bloomington Utilities has launched a two-year reconstruction project of the downtown stormwater infrastructure, called the Hidden River Pathway. CBU and its contractor, Milestone Contractors LLP, will be reconstructing 1,829 feet of culverts, along with some sanitary sewers and water mains.
Work has begun at the downstream connection to the existing culvert on Washington Street between Smith Avenue & 2nd Street, and a section of Washington Street will be closed for about two months. From there, work will continue at various locations along the route highlighted in red on the map (see below).
More information about the project is available here.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy