Bloomington board of public works notebook: Boxed-in bamboo wins appeal

A stand of bamboo can continue to screen the hawks and herons that eat the excess fish in a backyard Bloomington water feature.

That was ruling from Bloomington’s three-member board of public works at its Tuesday meeting.

In the first week of September, Bloomington resident Carolyn Geduld had been cited by the city’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department for allowing the bamboo to grow on her property in the southeast part of town. It was a warning that the HAND department issued, not a fine

Under Bloomington’s city code, bamboo is defined as an invasive species and cannot be planted or maintained on a property.

Geduld appealed her notice of violation. And the city’s legal department was persuaded by her argument.

Assistant city attorney Chris Wheeler addressed the board in support of the appeal. Geduld attended Tuesday’s board of public works meeting, but did not address the board.

The key to winning over the legal department was not the hawks and herons that Geduld described in her appeal, but the fact that the bamboo was confined to a structure where it could not spread. Continue reading “Bloomington board of public works notebook: Boxed-in bamboo wins appeal”

Outgoing Bloomington public works board member on summer fun: “Pay attention, be safe, be patient.”

On Tuesday evening, Beth Hollingsworth concluded a decade and a half of service as a member of Bloomington’s board of public works.

She led off her final meeting with a message to everyone in Bloomington. “Now begins the fun of summer—with festivals, markets, outdoor dining, and much, much more,” she began.

She continued with a perspective on this season’s public works activity: “You’re going to encounter road closures, lane restrictions, detours.”

Hollingsworth wrapped up: “Pay attention, be safe, be patient, and enjoy the many activities available this summer.”

For Hollingsworth the meeting marked the end of her second span of service on the board. During his staff report, public works director Adam Wason described Hollingsworth’s time on the board as starting in 1998 going through 2008 and resuming again in 2017.

About Hollingsworth’s approach to her board service, Wason said, “If there was ever any concern that there wasn’t going to be a document reviewed with a fine-tooth comb…, I always knew that Beth would come to us with good questions and the community’s best interest in mind.”

“The community is better off for all your years of service,” Wason told her. Continue reading “Outgoing Bloomington public works board member on summer fun: “Pay attention, be safe, be patient.””

Not bored of public works: Alexander Memorial repair, Kirkwood closure, potholes, pet adoption

A panorama looking west, centered on the Monroe County courthouse showing no-parking signs for the angled parking spaces.
A panorama looking west, centered on the Monroe County courthouse, which shows no-parking signs for the angled parking spaces.
Panorama looking east centered on Kirkwood from the intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Walnut Streets.
Panorama looking east, centered on Kirkwood from the intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Walnut Streets.

Repair and restoration of Monroe County’s Alexander Memorial at the southeast corner of the downtown courthouse square is set to get started on Monday.

That means downtown visitors might notice a big crane hoisting big panels of limestone into place. It also means that eight fewer parking spaces will be available on the eastern side of the square.

Also on Monday, just southeast of the Alexander Memorial on Kirkwood Avenue, the city of Bloomington’s department of public works will start setting up the yellow bollards that will close off portions of Kirkwood Avenue to motor vehicle traffic.

The street closure program is meant to give restaurants and retail stores a way to expand their capacity.

The Kirkwood closure, for the western half of the block between Washington and Walnut streets, will last through the end of October, based on the city council’s approval in the third week of January.

Also to be closed off are the two blocks at the eastern end of Kirkwood, between Indiana Avenue and Dunn Street.

That means motorists who are looking to get from the western edge of campus across town will need to choose a different east-west route. Continue reading “Not bored of public works: Alexander Memorial repair, Kirkwood closure, potholes, pet adoption”

Finishing touches on 4th Street parking garage—from pretty to practical

Bloomington’s new 540-space parking garage on 4th Street has been open for people to park there since Aug. 23.

Since then, elements like the payment system and solar panels have been installed.

On Wednesday, the installation of the public artwork called “Urban Fabric” resumed after a two-day pause, in order to get approval from the board of public works for a lane closure on Walnut Street.

The art consists of vast panels of multi-colored aluminum wedges that are meant to evoke a quilt.

Also this week, the two public toilets on the north end of the garage were open for use, after a delay due to a lack of parts for the doors. According to public works director Adam Wason, a late issue arose with the compatibility of the electronic locking mechanisms and the door jambs.

The restrooms will be open around the clock through the whole week, with regular monitoring during overnight hours, according to Wason.

Continue reading “Finishing touches on 4th Street parking garage—from pretty to practical”