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.
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.
The chimney of the historic Johnson's Creamery building is in need of repair, with recommendations that include demolishing the top 15 feet.
At their June 11 meeting, the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission heard a report on the issue. To do the work, the owners would need a demolition delay review, according to city staff. It is not located in an historic district, but the building is on the Historic Sites & Structures list.
Commissioners discussed their desire to designate the building as an historic structure. They also talked about recommending removal of the cellular antennas attached to the chimney, which cause damage from wind shear. It is technically considered a cell tower.
According to Commissioner Duncan Campbell, this is the second chimney for the building. The original one, built in 1949, was much taller, he said. The main building dates back to 1914. Campbell said he was alarmed to see that the chimney has deteriorated to such an extent.
Click here to view the discussion on CATS. Information about this project in the June 11 meeting packet starts on page 17.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy