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.
At a meeting that lasted over nine hours, a homeless encampment ordinance was defeated on a 4-4 vote of the Bloomington Council.
The Chamber had opposed the ordinance, which would have allowed encampments in public parks under certain conditions. It was supported by co-sponsors Matt Flaherty, Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Kate Rosenbarger, as well as Steve Volan. Voting against it were Dave Rollo, Susan Sandberg, Sue Sgambelluri and Ron Smith. Council president Jim Sims was absent due to a death in his family.
Read coverage in the Bloomington Herald-Times (paywall), WFIU and the B Square Beacon. CATS video of the meeting can be viewed here.
The following press release was issued by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce to oppose the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 regarding homeless encampments:
Based on overwhelming feedback from members, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 that would allow encampments in public parks for extended periods.
“Over the past year we’ve heard increasing complaints and deep concerns voiced by members of the business community regarding encampments at Seminary Park and elsewhere,” said Erin Predmore, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “We must find an alternative way to support the needs of houseless residents that does not negatively impact local businesses, the jobs they provide, and the broader community.”
Downtown Bloomington Inc. is seeking feedback from downtown businesses about possible outdoor dining options along the Kirkwood Avenue corridor. Please complete the survey by Friday, Feb. 26.
The City of Bloomington has release a master plan for the redevelopment of the Bloomington Hospital site, which the city is expected to take ownership of later this year. The 24-acre site will be vacated when IU Health moves to its new complex on the east side of town.
The downtown Bloomington site is bounded by West 2nd Street to the north, West Wylie Street to the south, the B-Line Trail to the east, and South Walker Street to the west. The area is being considered for a mix of residential and commercial development.
Find more information on the project's website.
Several leaders of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce were named to the City of Bloomington Waldron Recommendation Task Force, a group appointed by Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton to give advice on the future of the Waldron building at 122 S. Walnut Street.
Task force members include Cindy Kinnarney, German American Bank regional president and Chamber board chair; A. John Rose, founder of Textillery Weavers and co-chair of the Chamber Advocacy Council; John West, commercial broker/owner of FC Tucker Realty and co-chair of the Chamber Advocacy Council; Travis Vencel, director of development for TWG real estate development company and a member of the Chamber Legislative Council; and Ron Walker, CFC Properties vice president of operations and Chamber director.
The Waldron task force is co-chaired by Miah Michaelsen and Valerie Peña, who serves on the Chamber Advocacy Council. Michaelsen is deputy director of the Indiana Arts Commission. Peña is assistant vice president/chief of staff for the Office of Government Relations & Economic Engagement at Indiana University.
More information and updates are posted on the city's Waldron task force website.
More than 100 items from Bloomington Chamber members are highlighted in our first annual 2020 Chamber Gift Guide, to help you shop local for the holidays. The guide is divided into 15 categories, including "For Bringing Home a Bit of Bloomington," "For the Fashionista" and "For Holiday Cheer." You can view the Chamber Gift Guide here.
Free downtown on-street parking will be available from Thanksgiving through Sunday, Nov. 29, and the city's public garages will offer free parking on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Dec. 25-27 and Jan. 1-3. Click here for details.
In addition, parking will be free at certain Indiana University lots after 5 p.m. weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. This includes IU lots at 4th and Dunn, 6th and Dunn, and Poplars Garage.
The City of Bloomington is offering free Election Day parking on its downtown metered spots and garages. City offices will be closed.
On Tuesday, Nov. 3, polls are open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Go to the Indiana Voter Portal to find your polling location.
Update: Find Monroe County election results here. Statewide results will be posted on the Indiana Election Division results site.
Monroe County Commissioners are holding a public forum on Monday, Nov. 16 to get input on the future of the Monroe County Convention Center expansion. That project, which has been in the works for several years, was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year.
In announcing the forum, Commissioner Julie Thomas said: "Given the pandemic, given the pause, it's just a good time to review where we're at and where the community's at before we make any further decisions."
In a press release, the county posed these questions:
The Nov. 16 forum starts at 6 p.m. via this Zoom link. Or email your comments to CCR@co.monroe.in.us.
The proposed $44-million expansion is being funded by a countywide 1% Food & Beverage Tax, which was levied by the Monroe County Council in 2018. Since the pandemic struck, proceeds from that tax have been used to support tourism-related businesses.
Miah Michaelsen and Valerie Peña were named co-chairs of the Waldron Recommendation Committee, a group appointed by Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton to give advice on the future of the Waldron building at 122 S. Walnut Street.
Ivy Tech, which has owned the former city hall for several years, is returning it to the city. That transaction is expected to be completed in early 2021, according to Sean Starowitz, the city's assistant director of economic development for the arts. He gave an update on the process at the Bloomington Arts Commission's Oct. 14 meeting.
Michaelsen is Deputy Director of the Indiana Arts Commission. Peña is Assistant Vice President/Chief of Staff for the Office of Government Relations & Economic Engagement at Indiana University. According to the city's press release, the city will be seeking nominations for other committee members. To nominate or self-nominate, contact Mary Catherine Carmichael, the city's Director of Public Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-349-3406.
In addition, IU Professor Mark Levin is leading a Capstone class of graduate students to do a feasibility study of the Waldron. And a coalition of Cardinal Stage, Bloomington Playwrights Project and Pigasus Institute submitted a proposal to manage the Waldron. You can find a video describing that proposal here.