Rita’s Italian Ice gets OK from Bloomington

Rita’s Italian Ice is now set up to establish a Bloomington location—at the southwest corner of Kirkwood Avenue and Dunn Street.

A right-of-way encroachment agreement—to put a Rita’s in the old Falafel’s space of Dunkirk Square—was approved by Bloomington’s board of public works on Tuesday.

In the Hoosier state, Rita’s has stores in Fishers and Carmel. Nationwide the number of Rita’s stores is around 560.

Rita’s wants to encroach on the public right-of-way, in order to be able to serve customers from a walkup window along Dunn Street.

In late May, the three-member board of public works considered a similar proposal from Rita’s, but had some safety concerns—about a line of people queued up for Italian ice and custard next to a downtown street.

So at its May 23 meeting, the board put off a vote, to give the representatives from Rita’s and the city’s engineering staff some extra time to work out a configuration that would address the board’s concerns.

Among the revisions proposed to the board on Tuesday was reducing the number of walkup windows from two to one. To handle the customer volume, a window interior to the Dunkirk Square complex has been added.

Another element of the agreement is the installation by Rita’s of a railing behind the existing public sidewalk, and the installation of a grate for an existing tree.

Under the terms of the agreement, orders for customers have to be filled before the next order can be taken—to eliminate the possibility that a group of people would wind up clustered around the window waiting for their treats.

Steve Wilkos, with Rita’s, responded to a question from the board about the planned closing hours—by saying that Rita’s would be open at least until 11 p.m. The store might stay open later, depending on the number of customers, Wilkos said.

Bloomington public works director Adam Wason said at Tuesday’s meeting that staff from the city’s engineering, and planning and transportation departments met on site with Wilkos to find a way to address the safety concerns. Wason said, “We appreciate the collaboration on trying to get to a solution that everybody was satisfied with.”

One thought on “Rita’s Italian Ice gets OK from Bloomington

  1. Geez, that’s a really narrow sidewalk. I wonder how long that railing will stand. I wonder how long the staff will adhere to the one outstanding order rule.

    Maybe it’s just me, though. I was struck by an auto while crossing the street in the crosswalk just a few yards north of the old Felafel’s site.

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