City of Bloomington Unveils Final Design for Bicentennial Gateway at Miller-Showers Park, Featuring Stacked Limestone Blocks and Space for Public Art Installation

The City of Bloomington has revealed the final design for the Bicentennial Gateway at Miller-Showers Park, and sent the following press release Monday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 22, 2024

For more information, please contact:

Tim Street, Director, Parks and Recreation

[email protected] or 812-349-3700

Julie Ramey, Community Relations Manager, Parks and Recreation

[email protected] or 812-349-3719

CITY INCORPORATES PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION 

IN FINAL NORTH GATEWAY DESIGN

Bloomington, Ind.– Following a comprehensive review of feedback received at the end of 2023 on a modified design concept, the City today announces the next steps for the Bicentennial Gateway at Miller-Showers Park.

The new north gateway design incorporates stacked limestone blocks, approximately 10′ high with the word “Bloomington” in letters mounted to the limestone. The final design also incorporates space for a public art installation, a feature consistently requested by community members.

The Bloomington Arts Commission (BAC), in collaboration with Parks and Recreation, will solicit design proposals and select the final art installation concept. Cost for design, fabrication, and installation of the artwork will be paid with Bicentennial Bond funds approved by the Bloomington Common Council in October 2018. Specific budgets, dimensions, and timelines for the public art will be announced by the BAC in a future call for proposals. 

A contract addendum with Indianapolis-based landscape architecture firm Rundell Ernstberger Associates (REA), who developed and modified the original Bicentennial Gateway concept, is scheduled for presentation to the Board of Park Commissioners at their regular meeting Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 401 N. Morton St. The addendum includes development of both the final design into construction documents, and the platform and dimensions for the public art installation.

Site improvements planned for Miller-Showers Park will be adjusted to accommodate the updated gateway footprint. Bloomington-based Reed & Sons Construction was awarded a contract in July 2023 to make the site improvements, which include removing invasive Callery pear trees, installing sidewalks, reconstructing the pedestrian island on Gourley Pike and repairing asphalt, landscaping and tree planting.

A 120-foot section of new sidewalk was installed at 1919 College Ave. in November 2023, to facilitate safe pedestrian traffic along the west side of College Ave.

A separate bid process will be used to select a contractor for the final construction and installation of the updated Bicentennial Gateway. The contract is subject to review and approval by the Board of Park Commissioners.

The Bicentennial Gateway project was approved by the Bloomington Common Council in October 2018 as part of the Bicentennial Bond package. A total of $1.25 million was set aside for the development and installation of the gateways.

Updates on the Bicentennial Gateway project will be shared with the community via City-issued news releases, social media channels, and on the Bicentennial Gateway Project website as plans are developed. Community members may sign up online to receive email updates on this and other Parks and Recreation projects.

Artist rendering of the North Gateway design concept, a horizontal wall structure made of limestone blocks.

The updated gateway concept, released in December 2023. A space for a public art installation will be incorporated into this design, which the The Bloomington Arts Commission will solicit and select.

Bicentennial Gateway Project Timeline

  • The Bloomington Common Council on October 31, 2018, approved the sale of $10 million in bonds for a variety of Bicentennial projects, including the construction, art, and landscaping of four to six gateways to the City. A total of $1.25 million was set aside for the development and installation of the gateways.
  • The Board of Park Commissioners on July 23, 2019, approved a contract with Indianapolis-based Rundell Ernstberger Associates (REA) for $45,800 to complete conceptual design work on the Bicentennial gateways. Four potential gateway locations were identified: Arlington pedestrian bridge over State Road 45/46; Bloomfield Road at Twin Lakes Sports Park; State Road 46 and East Third Street; and the traffic island north of Miller-Showers Park.
  • Parks and Recreation held a public open house December 15, 2019, to unveil the proposed concepts for three signature gateways: At Miller-Showers Park, on the Arlington pedestrian bridge on State Road 45/46, and Bloomfield Road near Twin Lakes Sports Park. The East Third Street site was eliminated from consideration, as it was located on private land. The conceptual designs included the proposed size, construction materials, themes, graphic features and architectural and landscape elements. A total of 34 public comments about the gateway concepts were received online between December 10, 2019, and February 10, 2020.
  • REA presented a Bicentennial gateway project update to the Board of Park Commissioners at their regular meeting on April 28, 2020. The three proposed gateway designs incorporated input from the public, Parks and Recreation staff, and City administration.
  • Parks and Recreation staff restarted the Bicentennial Gateway project after it was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff reviewed REA’s conceptual designs for the three gateway sites and determined the estimated costs to be over budget. At their May 22, 2022 meeting, the Board of Park Commissioners approved an additional contract with REA for $133,925 for two, scaled-back gateway designs at Miller-Showers Park and the Arlington pedestrian bridge.
  • Final schematic concepts of the two gateway sites were presented to the Board of Park Commissioners at their December. 13, 2022 meeting. A public open house was held December 15, and an additional 59 people submitted feedback and comments regarding the gateway designs online between December 16, 2022, and January 6, 2023.
  • The Indiana Department of Transportation in spring 2023 informed the City of its plans to replace the Arlington pedestrian bridge in the next 10 years. Staff eliminated the Arlington pedestrian bridge from consideration as a gateway site due to its limited lifespan.
  • A contract for $395,105 with bo-mar Industries for the structural design, fabrication, and installation of the Bicentennial gateway at Miller-Showers Park was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners on May 16, 2023. To date, $32,628 has been paid to bo-mar Industries for the structural engineering and associated design work of the gateway element.
  • A contract for $575,000 with Reed & Sons Construction for site work necessary for the installation of the gateway, and sidewalk and paving improvements to the surrounding area, was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners on July 27, 2023. To date, $13,759 has been paid to Reed & Sons Construction for project startup costs.
  • Parks and Recreation issued a news release September 5, 2023 announcing the fall 2023 installation timeline for the monolith-style Bicentennial Gateway at Miller-Showers Park.
  • The Board of Public Works considered but did not act on requests to issue a Right of Way Permit for construction of the project at their September 12, September  26, and October 10 meetings.
  • The City released an update October 27 announcing the modification of the timeline for fabrication and installation of the gateway, to allow additional time for public input and feedback.  
  • The missing 120-foot section of sidewalk in front of the former Steak N’ Shake restaurant at 1919 N. College Ave. was installed in November to improve connectivity in the gateway area and allow appropriate pedestrian detours during future phases of construction.
  • The City released an update November 30 asking for additional feedback on a redesigned concept for the North Gateway. The new design concept called for a horizontal rather than vertical configuration, with the gateway constructed of limestone rather than fabricated metal. A total of 279 feedback submissions were collected between November 30 and December 15 for consideration in the development of a final design concept.

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