Bank building on Kirkwood designated as notable historic structure by Bloomington city council

Any future modifications of the People’s Bank building at the corner of Kirkwood Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Bloomington will need approval from Bloomington’s historic preservation commission.

On an 8–0 vote, Bloomington’s city council approved the building as a “notable” historic structure in its own historic district. That’s a designation that is higher than “contributing” but not as high as “outstanding” in the four-tiered rating system for historic buildings.

The council’s vote followed the unanimous recommendation of the city’s historic preservation commission (HPC).

The owner of the building, ​​Bailey 8 LLC, had requested demolition of the building, to construct a three- or four-story building that would include apartments. That meant the HPC reviewed the structure under the city’s ordinance on demolition delay. Continue reading “Bank building on Kirkwood designated as notable historic structure by Bloomington city council”

2008 versus 2021: Last weekend’s Kirkwood flooding not due to clogged storm drains, CBU reports

When waist-deep water filled the intersection of Dunn Street and Kirkwood Avenue last weekend, it reminded some Bloomington residents of similar flooding in June of 2008.

In 2008, the city of Bloomington utilities (CBU) blamed the high water in part on clogged storm drains. A June 10, 2008 news account from the Herald-Times about the Kirkwood floods stated, “Street inlets clogged with debris were a culprit, blocking water from draining into the system where it belongs, rather than sloshing on the streets.”

That was not the case for last weekend’s flooding, according to CBU’s director of transmission and distribution Brandon Prince.

At the meeting of the utilities service board on Wednesday, chair Jean Capler asked specifically about clogged storm drains as a contributing factor to last weekend’s flooding.

Prince told the board CBU had around 10 people out in the field on Saturday and Sunday. “Primarily, we really didn’t see a clog issue,” he said.

When the water started to recede, blocked drains became “a bit of an issue,” Prince said. That meant CBU crews did clean a lot of inlets in those two days, Prince said, adding that most of the inlet clearing came on Sunday.

Responding to Capler’s query, Prince said, “To answer your question,…we really can’t see how clogged inlets really contributed to the problem.” Continue reading “2008 versus 2021: Last weekend’s Kirkwood flooding not due to clogged storm drains, CBU reports”

Climate scientist on last weekend’s Bloomington rain: “It’s not like this was an absolute fluke…”

As of Wednesday, the National Weather Service is predicting 4 to 6 inches more rain for Bloomington, from Friday afternoon through Tuesday evening.

That follows 5 to 7 inches of rain that fell over a shorter period last weekend, which flooded a downtown Bloomington street, overtopped a county bridge with debris, and caused the floodwaters to sweep up one car, leaving its driver dead.

Based on the daily rainfall data in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Climate Center database, last weekend’s two-day total rainfall of 6.1 inches, recorded by the Indiana University campus rain gauge, ranks it the third-worst storm, since daily rainfall totals have been kept, which starts in 1895.

The 6.1 inches measured on IU’s campus was the highest two-day total in the last century.

Does last weekend’s single event prove the case for climate change?

When The B Square spoke on Wednesday with Gabriel Filippelli, professor of earth sciences at IUPUI, he said, “Each given intense rainfall event does not mean that climate change has descended on us.”

Filippelli continued, “However, when you look at the regional records and you see the number of days Indiana has had extreme rainfall events, it has gone up substantially from about the end of the 1980s on.”

The amount of extreme rainfall in central Indiana has gone up by about 15 percent since 1990, Filippelli said. He continued, “The projections are, it’s going to go up another 15 percent by 2050.”

That means extreme rainfall will continue to be likely in this area, he said. He added, “Whether climate change will make them worse or not, it’s hard to say, ”

In the context of a 15-percent increase in extreme rainfall, Filippelli assessed last weekend’s storm like this: “You know, 15 percent isn’t a lot, but it’s not like this was an absolute fluke that we’ll never see again.” Continue reading “Climate scientist on last weekend’s Bloomington rain: “It’s not like this was an absolute fluke…””

Post-flood recovery: Monday signing of local disaster declaration part of Monroe County’s two-pronged approach to aid, officials caution against high hopes

On Monday, Monroe County board of commissioners president Julie Thomas signed a declaration of local disaster, because of weekend flooding that hit downtown Bloomington and other areas of the county.

The disaster declaration will appear for ratification on the three-member board’s regular meeting agenda on Wednesday.

A declaration of local disaster, under Indiana Code 10-14-3-29, will “activate the response and recovery aspects of all applicable local or interjurisdictional disaster emergency plans.”

Such a declaration could also make homeowners and business owners alike eligible for reimbursement of uninsured flood damages by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

But the county’s emergency manager, Allison Moore, told a gathering of about 25 business and nonprofit leaders on Monday morning that nothing is guaranteed to be reimbursed.

Still, a disaster declaration would “help our cause,” Moore said, in connection with another approach the county is taking. The second approach is to ask the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) for low-interest loan assistance. Continue reading “Post-flood recovery: Monday signing of local disaster declaration part of Monroe County’s two-pronged approach to aid, officials caution against high hopes”

Post-flood work starts for Bloomington government, businesses

Looking north up the alley next to Village Deli. These hoses are connected to pumps that are emptying the Village Deli’s basement of six feet of water.

Between 5 and 7 inches of rain fell on Bloomington on Friday night through early Saturday.

That meant thigh- to waist-deep water pooled on Kirkwood Avenue before flowing southward.

In the mid-morning hours on Saturday, business owners along Kirkwood were starting the work of clean up and damage assessment.

The flood outside the Village Deli on Kirkwood last night meant the basement was filled with six feet of water on Saturday morning. Owner Bob Costello told The B Square he hopes to be back open in a week. But it will mean replacing the point-of-sale computer server, which was swamped by the floodwaters.

According to a press release from the city of Bloomington, the flood damage inside the city was centered on the blocks of Kirkwood Avenue just west of the Indiana University Sample Gates.

The release says, “Flooding inside the city appears to be concentrated in the downtown area, specifically Kirkwood Avenue between Indiana Avenue and Washington Street.”

The city’s press release also states that emergency responders for the city performed 17 water rescues on Friday night through Saturday morning. Continue reading “Post-flood work starts for Bloomington government, businesses”

Pandemic racks up 5K confirmed cases in Hoosier state, another daily high

Saturday’s noon kickoff for the football game in Bloomington, between Indiana University and the University of Michigan,  coincided with the daily update to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The 38–21 victory by the Hoosiers put a total of three in the win column, against no losses, for the Hoosier squad so far in the COVID-19-shortened season.

On Saturday, the COVID-19 pandemic virus again put up big numbers statewide and in Monroe County.

The 5,007 cases recorded for Indiana counted as another daily high since the pandemic started. The statewide rolling average of confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at 3,786, which is three and a half times greater than the rolling average on Oct. 1.

Monroe County saw its confirmed cases spike in late August through mid-September, when university students returned to campus. After that, the numbers subsided a bit. Through October, local numbers have not shown the kind of sharp increases seen statewide over the last month.

Still, the 70 cases that COVID-19 put up on the dashboard on Saturday brought the rolling average of Monroe County cases to 46. That compares to an average of 26 at the start of October. Continue reading “Pandemic racks up 5K confirmed cases in Hoosier state, another daily high”