Bloomington BPW affirms order to AT&T: Take gear off Johnson’s Creamery smokestack by May 31

At its Tuesday evening meeting, Bloomington’s board of public works voted to affirm an order from the city’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department, which requires AT&T to remove its communications equipment from near the top of the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack—by midnight on May 31.

The removal of AT&T’s equipment will help set the stage for the owner’s partial demolition of the smokestack—from 140 feet down to 60 feet. The building, with its smokestack, is owned by Peerless Development.

The partial demolition was ordered by HAND because an engineering study determined the smokestack is unsafe.

If AT&T doesn’t comply with the order to vacate, it could face a daily fine of $500 from the city of Bloomington. Continue reading “Bloomington BPW affirms order to AT&T: Take gear off Johnson’s Creamery smokestack by May 31”

Fire station in south part of Bloomington to get interior remodel

At its Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s board of public works approved a $48,975 contract with Strauser Construction Company for some remodeling work in one of Bloomington’s five fire stations.

The work will be done at Fire Station #5, which is located on Henderson Street in the south part of town.

According to the staff memo in the board’s meeting information packet, the project includes several interior modifications: expansion of the kitchen area with new cabinets and countertops; construction of a partition wall in the equipment bay; construction of a small office for use by the station captain; filling in the overhead door on the north side of the building with solid masonry; and the installation of a new door leading from the equipment bay to the locker room.

The item drew no discussion from the three-member board of works. They’d been briefed on the project at a work session earlier in the afternoon by public works director of facilities J. D. Boruff. Continue reading “Fire station in south part of Bloomington to get interior remodel”

Public works notebook: Scooter contracts, underpass mural repair, sidewalk fines

Bloomington’s short-handed board of public works still worked its way through a Tuesday agenda that included: renewal of the $10,000 annual licenses for two scooter companies; an agreement with an artist to refurbish the 7th Street underpass mural; two public improvement bond estimates; and a noise permit for a Rally for Life event.

The three-member board has one open seat, due to the resignation of Dana Henke, which was effective at the end of the year. For Tuesday’s meeting, that still left a quorum in the form of Kyla Cox Deckard and Beth Hollingsworth. Acting as president for Tuesday’s meeting was the board’s secretary, Kyla Cox Deckard.

Public works director Adam Wason indicated at Tuesday’s meeting that it is hoped a replacement for Henke would be named in time for the board’s next meeting on Jan. 19. Continue reading “Public works notebook: Scooter contracts, underpass mural repair, sidewalk fines”

4th Street parking garage update: Public art wrapped up, security firm hired for overnight patrols

By mid-afternoon on Thursday, workers had completed the installation of the colorful quilt-patterned panels on three sides of the new 4th Street parking garage in downtown Bloomington.

As they were packing up their gear, the crew from Ignition Arts, which did the fabrication and installation of the piece, told The B Square they were glad to have wrapped up the work before Christmas Eve.

The garage has been open for parking since Aug. 23.

Since its opening, a collection of incidents at the garage, in combination with city staffing challenges, has led the public works department to add some private security patrols.

On Tuesday, the board of public works approved a $2,325 contract with Marshall Security through the end of January, to provide monitoring of the 4th Street garage during overnight hours.

The payment system for the garage was not immediately operational when the garage opened, but it has since been installed. That means it’s possible to start trying to track occupancy levels, which have mostly been only a fraction of the 540-space capacity.

Continue reading “4th Street parking garage update: Public art wrapped up, security firm hired for overnight patrols”

“Black Lives Matter” street mural gets OK from board of public works, to be painted Saturday

At its Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s board of public works cleared the way for the painting of a second “Black Lives Matter” street mural on Saturday.

The board approved the use of the public right-of-way on the block of 6th Street between Walnut Street and College Avenue, the north leg of the courthouse square.

The street will be blocked off to vehicle traffic for 14 hours on Saturday (April 17), from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

It will be the second such mural to be painted on a Bloomington street. The first was painted last year on the north-south segment of Elm Street next to the Banneker Community Center. That painting work, done by 83 community volunteers, was led by artists Christina Elem and Raheem Elmore, according to a city of Bloomington news release. Continue reading ““Black Lives Matter” street mural gets OK from board of public works, to be painted Saturday”

Appeal of noise ordinance citation gets full hearing, standard denial by Bloomington public works board

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, Bloomington’s three-member board of public works heard and denied an appeal from a 21-year-old man who had been cited by a Bloomington police officer on Feb. 26 for a noise ordinance violation.

Tuesday’s appeal appears to have been a typical citation and appeals process, from several different angles. Continue reading “Appeal of noise ordinance citation gets full hearing, standard denial by Bloomington public works board”

Two separate blocks on Kirkwood Avenue to be closed through week until end of year, weekends-only for one block

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Still in place on Monday afternoon were the yellow bollards that public works crews installed before the weekend, to close off parts of Kirkwood Avenue in downtown Bloomington.

That’s not due to any slacking by Bloomington public works. They have been setting up and removing the Kirkwood bollards every weekend since mid-June.

But from now until the end of the year, there will be no need to remove the bollards for some parts of the street.

According to a press release from the city of Bloomington issued Friday afternoon, from now until the end of the year,  two one-block segments will be closed through the week, and one additional segment will be closed just on weekends.

The closures, which started just on weekends in mid-June, are meant to allow restaurants to seat more people outside, distanced from each other, in an atmosphere where patrons might feel safer from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic virus. Continue reading “Two separate blocks on Kirkwood Avenue to be closed through week until end of year, weekends-only for one block”

Parklets add to outside dining options in downtown Bloomington

At least through Sept. 30, patrons of some restaurants in downtown Bloomington will be able to feed themselves at tables set up the street, in spaces where drivers normally feed a meter to park their cars.

Called “parklets,” they’re one of a few different approaches the city is taking to help restaurants recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s current 4.5 order leaves in place a restriction on restaurants preventing them from operating at any greater than 75-percent capacity.

The parklets launched this week with a couple of blocked-off areas on the west side of College Avenue on the courthouse square. The concept won approval from the Bloomington board of public works at its Aug. 4 meeting. Continue reading “Parklets add to outside dining options in downtown Bloomington”

Bloomington looks to relax regulations on businesses to aid recovery from COVID-19 impact

From now at least through Sept. 30, Bloomington businesses will be given a break on application fees for new signs, and on compliance with certain code requirements on signage.

In addition to that, restaurants and retail stores along Kirkwood Avenue will be able to expand their outdoor seating and marketing to take up more of the sidewalk than would normally be allowed. That’s just in connection with a planned trial street closure on the weekend of June 19.

According to Alex Crowley, director of the city’s economic and sustainability department, the relaxation of code requirements is part of the city’s effort to help the business community recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Final approval of one package of proposals is scheduled for the June l7 city council meeting. Continue reading “Bloomington looks to relax regulations on businesses to aid recovery from COVID-19 impact”

Trial closure for Lower Cascades road starts this Friday

Starting this Friday, about 500 motorists a day in each direction, will need to find a different route through Bloomington’s Lower Cascades Park.

The section of Old 37 Highway, which used to be the only way to get into Bloomington, will be closed to motorized traffic inside the park. The southern closure point is at the Irving Materials, Inc. (IMI) driveway, just north of the underpass at State Road 45/46. The northern closure point is at the the parking lot across the road from the playground.

The pilot program, which is supposed to end Sept. 30, was approved by Bloomington’s three-member board of public works at its regular meeting a week ago.

The idea is to close the 0.6-mile segment of road “to expand and integrate with Bloomington’s network of walking and biking trails; provide a safe, accessible destination for recreation and exercise; and to offer bicycle commuters additional options for safer routes.” Continue reading “Trial closure for Lower Cascades road starts this Friday”