Staff report written from press release:
Bloomington, Indiana – October 27, 2023
The City of Bloomington has announced a modification to the timeline of the Bicentennial gateway project, known in the community at the “Monolith” originally scheduled for installation this fall in Miller-Showers Park on the north side of the city. The adjustment is intended to allow time for extensive feedback consideration and reevaluation of the project’s next steps.
The decision to reschedule the site improvements to spring 2024 was made to incorporate input from the public, the design team, and various City departments, boards, and commissions. The Bicentennial bond, initially issued in 2018 to fund the gateway project, remains dedicated to covering the project’s associated costs, according to the City of Bloomington.
Tim Street, Interim Director of Parks and Recreation, emphasized the importance of integrating public feedback into the project’s development. He stated, “We are looking at multiple ways to move this project forward in a positive way that considers both the public feedback received and the work that has gone into this project since its inception in 2018. This includes considering adjustments in design and ideas for the gateway element itself.”
The project had reached the stage where a contract for $395,105 with Indianapolis-based bo-mar Industries had been approved. However, to date, bo-mar Industries had primarily focused on structural engineering and electrical design for the gateway element. The actual fabrication of the gateway had not commenced.
Additionally, a contract with Reed & Sons Construction of Bloomington, valued at $575,000, had been approved for site improvement work. This work included tasks such as removing invasive Callery pear trees, installing sidewalks, reconstructing the pedestrian island on Gourley Pike, repairing asphalt, and landscaping the area. Furthermore, a foundation was to be poured for the gateway element itself.
To enhance connectivity in the gateway area, a 120-foot section of sidewalk in front of the former Steak N’ Shake restaurant at 1919 N. College Ave is set to be installed in the coming weeks. The purpose is to facilitate pedestrian detours during subsequent phases of construction. However, this installation is contingent on the approval of a lane and sidewalk closure request by the Board of Public Works before Reed & Sons Construction proceeds with the remaining site work next spring.
Angela Van Rooy, Interim Communications Director for the City of Bloomington, in a press release, acknowledged the community’s desire for additional time to provide input on the project, which commenced in 2018 but faced interruptions due to the pandemic. She stated, “We have already taken steps to expand our communication efforts and to provide additional time for feedback from all interested parties.”
The City plans to share future project plans with the community through official news releases, social media channels, and the Bicentennial Gateway Project website at bloomington.in.gov/parks/gateway. Interested community members are encouraged to sign up for email updates on the project by registering at bton.in/inbox.
Here is a summary of the project timeline:
- In 2018, the Bloomington Common Council approved the sale of $10 million in bonds for various Bicentennial projects, including the gateways.
- In 2019, a contract with Rundell Ernstberger Associates (REA) was approved to complete conceptual design work on the Bicentennial gateways.
- Public open houses were held in 2019 to unveil the proposed concepts for the gateways.
- Additional contracts were approved for scaled-back gateway designs in 2022.
- The Arlington pedestrian bridge site was eliminated due to limited lifespan.
- Contracts for structural design and site work were approved in 2023.
- The fall 2023 installation timeline was announced in September 2023.
- The Board of Public Works considered but did not act on Right of Way Permit requests for the project.