During a weekly joint press conference on Friday afternoon, Mayor John Hamilton announced plans to close sections of Kirkwood to vehicular traffic 24/7 through the end of the year. Those sections are between Dunn and Grant, and from Washington to Walnut. The block between Indiana and Dunn will be closed weekends only. North/south cross streets will remain open.
Since this summer, sections of Kirkwood have been closed from Thursday through Sunday to allow restaurants to set up tables for customers in the street. It allows for additional seating with distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some restaurant owners have been advocating to keep the closing throughout the week so that they can set up tents with heaters during inclement weather.
The City of Bloomington is hosting a public forum on Oct. 6 to review a site plan for the redevelopment of the current IU Health Bloomington Hospital area. The event begins at 6 p.m. and will be held online. Residents can participate by registering here, or watch the event on Facebook or CATS.
Participants will be asked to take part in three 25-minute workshops featuring interactive discussions about the plan. The workshop topics will be Access + Connections, Open Space, and Land Use + Neighborhood Character.
The next public forum will occur in December, when the master planning consultant, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), will present a finalized plan. The master planning team is also working with the Hospital Reuse Committee, a group of more than 30 community members who have been involved with the city on this project since 2015. Chamber CEO Erin Predmore serves on that group.
Additional information, updates, and input opportunities are available on the project website.
Several changes designed to support downtown businesses will be extended by the City of Bloomington through the end of 2020. These include:
Previously, these initiatives were set to expire on Sept. 30.
The PUDO zones and parklets will be extended by the Bloomington Department of Public Works, and the weekend closures of Kirkwood will go before the Bloomington Council at an upcoming meeting in September, according to city staff.
Businesses that are interested in the parklet program can apply online here. More information is available on the city's business resource page, or contact Kaisa Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Bloomington has started a pilot program to convert parking spaces into additional spots for outdoor dining in the downtown area. Restaurants that want to create these “parklets” can apply to the city, which will then install barriers to protect the seating area.
Businesses can apply online here. More information is available on the city's business resource page, or contact Kaisa Goodman at email@example.com.
The program will be available at least through Sept. 30.
At a July 31 event featuring leaders of Bloomington's Black business community and city officials, the Chamber led a ceremony to install an Indiana historical market in Peoples Park. The maker commemorates the Black Market, a Black-owned business that was firebombed in 1968.
This ends a process that officially began in the summer of 2019 with an application to the Indiana Historical Bureau, in partnership with the Chamber's Black-Owned Business Affiliate Group and the City of Bloomington.
Peoples Park was originally the location of the Black Market in Bloomington, opened by Rollo Turner in 1968 on land owned by Larry Canada, a businessman and antiwar activist. This was a peaceful gathering place for citizens of Bloomington as well as Indiana University students where LPs, books, artwork, and African imports were sold. On December 26th, 1968, the Black Market was firebombed by the local members of the KKK. Ultimately, the Market was forced to close after all inventory was lost. Not long after, the building that housed the Black Market was razed, leaving an empty plot of land. In the early 1970’s, Indiana University students started plantings flowers and vegetation in the area, eventually naming it Peoples Park in honor of a park at UC-Berkeley.
Click here to watch a video of the event.
The City of Bloomington has designed 54 parking spots throughout downtown as free 15-minute pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) locations for restaurants and merchants. The intent is to support the curbside pick-up model that many businesses are using during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for an interactive map of the PUDO spaces.
This pilot project, which starts Aug. 1, has been approved by the city's Board of Public Works through Sept. 30. After that, it could be extended via temporary order or city council vote.
The city also announced that starting Aug. 1, enforcement of metered parking spaces will begin again from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The city has been offering two free hours of metered parking since March.
A new apartment complex at the Johnson Creamery site will add 58 apartments in a 5-story building that also includes retail space facing the BLine.
The site is now a parking lot for the Johnson Creamery's office complex, which will remain – and where the Chamber's offices were previously located. It is between 7th and 8th Streets just west of the BLine.
There will be 27 studio units, 22 one-bedroom units, 5 two-bedroom units and 6 three-bedroom units, totaling 77 bedrooms. In addition, there will be 2,600 space of first-floor retail, 36 parking spaces under the building, and a green roof.
The Bloomington Plan Commission gave unanimous approval to the project at their July 13 meeting. Click here to read more.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is holding an installation ceremony for a historical marker at Peoples Park in Bloomington to mark the location of the Black Market, a Black-owned business that was firebombed in 1968. The installation will take place on Friday, July 31 at 10 a.m. at Peoples Park, 501 E Kirkwood Ave. (the northeast corner of Kirkwood and Dunn).
This ends a process that officially began in the summer of 2019 with an application to the Indiana State Historical Society. The Chamber had originally planned to have this event and marker installation in May, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were rescheduled for this month.
“We are looking forward to finally being able to honor Peoples Park and the Black Market that was once located there,” said Erin Predmore, President & CEO of the Chamber. “Many people in Bloomington are unaware of the history of this park and the injustice that led to the end of the Black Market, and the Chamber and our Black-Owned Business Affinity Group are on a mission to change that.”
The Chamber will be livestreaming the installation of the marker on our Facebook page. Click here for the Chamber press release.
More than 300 people signed a letter to the City of Bloomington administration, supporting the continued use of the Waldron building at 122 S. Walnut for arts & cultural purposes.
Ivy Tech has owned the building for several years, and recently announced plans to return it to the city. That transaction is expected to be completed in August.
The petition, organized by Arts Forward Bloomington, in part asks the city to keep the building's "current function as an arts center, particularly a performance venue available for public use.”
Sean Starowitz, the city's assistant director for the arts, told the Chamber that a public engagement process will be held later this year to get input on the building's future use.
Click here to see the Arts Forward Bloomington press release, with a full text of the letter and a list of signatories.
If you missed the outdoor dining along closed sections of Kirkwood last weekend, you'll have another chance soon.
The Kirkwood Community Association is planning to close off two sections from Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m. through Sunday, June 28: 1) between Grant and Dunn, and 2) between Dunn and Indiana. They'll check the weather forecast on Thursday to confirm the closing, according to Bob Costello, the KCA president and owner of Village Deli.
The first weekend of closing Kirkwood, from June 19-21, was viewed as a success. Participating restaurants with expanded outdoor seating included Village Deli, Nick's English Hut, Osteria Rago and Lennie's.
They'll skip July 4 weekend, Costello said, but hope to continue the closure for future weekends throughout the summer. The closure allows restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas and give pedestrians a safe way to walk past as the community continues COVID-19 physical distancing.