Installations at park, parking garages part of a busy end of year for Bloomington’s public art program

Towards dusk on Tuesday, visible progress was being made on the installation of “Urban Fabric,” a piece of public art that will wrap the new 4th Street parking garage in downtown Bloomington.

The public artwork for another recently completed city parking garage, located in the Trades District just north of city hall, will get a formal dedication this Friday.

Adding to public art activity in Bloomington in recent weeks was the dedication of “North Star/Hoosier Line” on Friday two weeks ago. It was installed on the east and west walls of the restrooms, north of the splash pad across the B-Line from the pavilion.

Continue reading “Installations at park, parking garages part of a busy end of year for Bloomington’s public art program”

Column: Sandboxing some possible new Bloomington city council districts

Based on the results of the 2020 census, the populations of Bloomington’s six current city council districts are way out of kilter.

There’s no question that some city council district boundary adjustments will need to be made, before the next municipal elections are held in 2023. The changes could be significant.

Legally speaking, resetting the Bloomington city council district boundaries is a task that does not have to be completed until the end of 2022.

But for any potential candidate in the 2023 city council elections, it would be less than ideal if a city council decision on new district boundaries came late in 2022.

Why is it not possible to go ahead and get started? Continue reading “Column: Sandboxing some possible new Bloomington city council districts”

Annexation notebook: Bloomington would get a bit less diverse if all additions of territory go through

Thanksgiving marked roughly the halfway point in the 90-day window for remonstrance petitions to be filed against Bloomington’s planned annexations.

That means the Jan. 6, 2022 deadline for remonstration against Bloomington’s annexations is now on the near horizon. In the next couple of weeks, many of the multi-signature sheets that remonstrators have obtained from the county auditor will likely be submitted.

So the potential for successful remonstrance should soon start to become clearer for any of the seven areas that Bloomington wants to annex.

In the meantime, The B Square used results from the 2020 Census, to estimate the changes that Bloomington could see in its racial and ethnic mix, if all of the annexations were to go through as approved by the city council.

If all annexations go through, Bloomington’s non-Hispanic white population would, based on B Square estimates, increase by about one percentage point. The non-Hispanic Black population would see a quarter-point decrease, the same decrease as the Hispanic population overall. And Bloomington’s non-Hispanic Asian population would see a three-quarter-point decrease, if all annexations go through.

Continue reading “Annexation notebook: Bloomington would get a bit less diverse if all additions of territory go through”

Pandemic notebook: November numbers surging, local impact of ‘breakthrough’ cases not certain

Monroe County has seen a doubling in the rolling average of COVID-19 confirmed positive cases from the third week in October through most of November.

On Oct. 23 the number was about 19, which has climbed to an average of about 38 cases a day on Nov. 23.

That’s not as steep a rise as the 2020 increase during roughly the same period, which saw a four-fold increase from about 23 to about 93 positive cases per day.

But the current numbers are still four times higher than the target that has been set by the county board of public health for lifting the county’s mask mandate. The target of 50 cases per week per 100,000 population works out to about 10.2 daily cases for Monroe County.

The 50 cases per week per 100,000 population is the upper bound on the Centers for Disease Control classification for “moderate” community spread. Continue reading “Pandemic notebook: November numbers surging, local impact of ‘breakthrough’ cases not certain”

Trees, warning surface among final details of Bloomington’s 7-Line bicycle lane

At Tuesday’s meeting of Bloomington’s board of public works, three change orders were approved for the 7-Line project.

The increases in the approved expenditures, which totaled around $30,000, signaled that the final touches are being put on the $2.6 million protected bicycle lane for 7th Street.

The work has included the installation of replacements for two of three accessible on-street parking spaces, which were eliminated due to the construction of the project.

The 7-Line runs about three-quarters of a mile along 7th Street, from the B-Line Trail to the Indiana University campus. An official opening ceremony was held last week.

Continue reading “Trees, warning surface among final details of Bloomington’s 7-Line bicycle lane”

Lead levels in soil not actionable in area of flake fall after fire, Bloomington’s contractor says

According to the city of Bloomington, soil samples taken from properties where debris fell after the Nov. 5 controlled burning of a house at 1213 High Street do not show lead levels that are “actionable.”

1213 High Street controlled burn on Nov. 5, 2021.

The debris included flakes of lead-based paint that coated the siding of the house.

The announcement, about the result of lead tests on soil samples taken by VET Environmental Engineering, came in a news release issued by the city of Bloomington late Tuesday afternoon.

The conclusions in Tuesday’s news release are based on results of testing done so far.

The new release says that lead levels in soil samples taken in the area where debris fell do not exceed Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) limits “for residential or direct contact exposure, and are in keeping with IDEM’s survey of background lead concentrations in Indiana.”

According to Tuesday’s news release, none of the samples showed lead levels greater than 200 parts per million (ppm). According to Bloomington’s news release, IDEM requires action to be taken if lead levels exceed 400 ppm. Continue reading “Lead levels in soil not actionable in area of flake fall after fire, Bloomington’s contractor says”

Electric scooter parking violations: Zero citations, in over 2 years since local Bloomington law was passed

When Bloomington’s city council enacted an ordinance regulating shared electric scooters, the local law came with a provision about sidewalk parking. Users could park their scooters on sidewalks, but with more than a dozen restrictions.

Among the restrictions are some obvious requirements—like the need to leave a clear straight path of some minimal width (at least four and a half feet), and a prohibition against blocking accessibility ramps.

At the July 31, 2019, when the scooter ordinance was enacted, city attorney Mike Rouker told the city council: “[The city of Bloomington] will be fining them every single time we see a parking issue.”

Apparent violations of the scooter parking ordinance are noticeable in many places around town where scooters are operated.

But the city of Bloomington has not made any citations or issued any fines related to improper scooter parking, after the ordinance became effective more than two years ago, on Sept. 1, 2019

Continue reading “Electric scooter parking violations: Zero citations, in over 2 years since local Bloomington law was passed”

People’s Market notebook: Pumpkin pie is in drag!

This past Saturday, the People’s Market finished up its outdoor season at its Harmony School location on 2nd Street.

The indoor winter season for the market starts next Saturday, Nov. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Full House Fitness.

Readers might remember the place as the former Girls, Inc. location, where 9th Street ends at Elm Street, a couple blocks north of the Banneker Community Center.

On Saturday, The B Square checked in with some of the market vendors and the musical entertainment.

Continue reading “People’s Market notebook: Pumpkin pie is in drag!”

Photos: Trumpets of the Marching Hundred

Starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday in front of the Sample Gates on the east end of Kirkwood Avenue, Garrett Rogers led the trumpet section of Indiana University’s Marching Hundred through some football game standards, like “Indiana, Our Indiana” and “The William Tell Overture,” among others. [audio of “Indiana, Our Indiana”]

IU’s football game against the University of Minnesota Gophers is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m.

More photos after the jump.
Continue reading “Photos: Trumpets of the Marching Hundred”