The new Bloomington neighborhood, which is to be developed on the site of the IU Health hospital, will get a name of its own.
That’s among the tasks the city’s redevelopment commission (RDC) wants Borshoff, an Indianapolis public relations firm, to help complete.
At Monday’s regular RDC meeting, commissioners approved an amendment to the review and approval form for the nearly $13-million redevelopment project, so that it now includes a $82,500 contract with Borshoff.
The firm is supposed to facilitate public engagement on the naming of the neighborhood, according to Bloomington’s director of economic and sustainable development, Alex Crowley.
About the need for a neighborhood name, Crowley said, “Hospital Redevelopment Site doesn’t really roll off the tongue.” He added, “I’m not sure that would make a nice road sign.”
The hospital property at 2nd and Rogers streets will be turned over to Bloomington by IU Health as part of a $6.5 million real estate deal. Except for the parking deck and the administration building, the structures on the site are to be demolished by IU Health.
The relocation of IU Health to its new facility on SR-46 is still on track to take place later this year, according to an IU Health spokesperson in early September.
The work by Borshoff is to be completed between October this year and March 2022. The naming of the site is supposed to come by January 2022—after initial work to gather information in October and November of 2021.
Additional work for Borshoff includes developing a visual identity, branding, and a marketing plan. Crowley put it this way: “It’ll be a communication strategy that’ll be tied to promoting and marketing actual land when the time comes to development.”
At Monday’s meeting, Bloomington RDC president Nick Kappas questioned the idea of outsourcing the naming of a new neighborhood. “Why do we feel that it’s necessary to have an outside party come in?” Kappas asked. He continued, “Did we think about possibly running this through a public process?”
Kappas wanted to know if a public process was considered, as opposed to hiring a naming and branding contractor.
Responding to Kappas was Bloomington’s director of economic and sustainable development, Alex Crowley. “So, just to be clear, we have not outsourced the naming to [Borshoff],” Crowley said.
Crowley said the city would not just accept whatever name Borshoff comes up with. The contract, Crowley continued, is to help with the public engagement strategy.
Crowley said, “Not only is Bloomington heavily engaged in everything it does, but in this particular case, given the importance of this project, in the grand scheme of things, they’re going to help us really gather that, process it.” Borshoff is supposed to facilitate the public process that Kappas was describing, Crowley said.
Kappas also wanted to know how Borshoff’s previous experience in the field of education, healthcare membership, retail, banking, sports, entertainment, and utilities fit into the needs of the hospital redevelopment site.
Crowley told Kappas, “I think they’ve done a fair amount of kind of large-scale project work.” Crowley concluded, “I think that they are going to prove to be adept at exactly what we’re looking for them to do here.”
At a mid-September meeting, the RDC approved an additional land deal related to the hospital redevelopment site
At the September meeting, Crowley said, “We hope to get it over the finish line, and to get going with this project.”
The redevelopment of the hospital site is planned in phases over several years.