Press Release: Bicentennial Gateway Construction Contracts Approved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2024

For more information, please contact:

Tim Street, Director, Parks and Recreation

BICENTENNIAL GATEWAY CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS APPROVED

North gateway at Miller-Showers Park to be completed this year

Bloomington, Ind.–The Bicentennial gateway planned to welcome people to Bloomington from the city’s north side is scheduled for completion in late 2024.

The Board of Park Commissioners at their June 25, 2024 meeting reviewed contracts to prepare the site on the north end of Miller-Showers Park, 1500 N. College Ave., for the Bicentennial gateway and a public art element; to build the limestone gateway wall; and to fabricate and install metal lettering and LED lighting on the gateway.

Following public feedback, the final gateway design concept introduced in January 2024 incorporates stacked limestone blocks and the word “Bloomington” in backlighted letters mounted to the limestone.

The Board approved an addendum to the $575,000 July 2023 Reed & Sons contract for $79,462 to cover modifications to the original site improvements necessitated by additional sidewalk work as well as the redesigned gateway. After a separate bid process was conducted for the updated gateway itself, Reed & Sons was also awarded a second contract for $249,750 to fabricate and install the limestone gateway wall. 

Bo-mar Industries of Beech Grove, Ind. was selected in May 2023 to fabricate the original vertical gateway element. For the redesigned gateway, bo-mar instead designed the metal lettering and LED lighting and was awarded a contract for $65,000 for its fabrication and installation.

As part of the redesign, and in response to public desire for art in this space, the Bloomington Arts Commission (BAC) will solicit design proposals for an additional public art piece located about 60 feet north of the gateway wall. The BAC will receive $125,000 from the Bicentennial Bond fund to solicit, select, and install a piece of public art in this location. Further announcements on this art piece will be made by the BAC.

Funding for the Bicentennial Gateway comes from a series of municipal bonds approved by a vote of the City Council in October 2018. A total of $1.25 million was earmarked for the design and construction of the city gateway. With the exclusion of the additional funds to the BAC, which will come from proceeds of the same Bicentennial Bond account, the project is expected to remain within the original budget.

The final Bicentennial gateway concept, scheduled for installation in Miller-Showers Park by the end of 2024.

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian by the City of Bloomington:

  • 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 (2023) meetings.
  • The City released an update October 27, 2023 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 2023  to improve connectivity in the gateway area and allow appropriate pedestrian detours during future phases of construction.
  • The City released an update November 30, 2023 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, 2023 and December 15, 2023 for consideration in the development of a final design concept.
  • The City announced January 22, 2024 the new north gateway design would incorporate stacked limestone blocks approximately 10′ high with the word “Bloomington” in letters mounted to the limestone. The final design also incorporated space for a public art installation, to be selected in collaboration with the Bloomington Arts Commission.
  • A contract addendum for $42,300 with Rundell Ernstberger Associates (REA) was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners January 23, 2024. The addendum included development of both the final design into construction documents, and the platform and dimensions for the public art installation.
  • A contract addendum for $79,462.44 in additional contract value (original contract was for $575,000) with Reed & Sons was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners June 25, 2024. The addendum included additional sidewalk construction as well as site modifications to accommodate the updated gateway design.
  • The Board of Park Commissioners on June 25, 2024 also approved a separate contract for $249,750 with Reed & Sons to construct the actual gateway element, a horizonal wall of limestone blocks. 
  • The Board of Park Commissioners on June 25, 2024 also approved a contract with bo-mar Industries to design and construct the powder-coated aluminum lettering and LED lighting spelling “BLOOMINGTON” and to install the lettering on the limestone gateway.

In all, the cost impacts of the redesign include:

  • $47,766.87 – Reed & Sons change order
  • $249,750 – Limestone wall construction
  • $65,000 – bo-mar industries lettering & lighting
  • $42,300 – additional design fees for REA (approved December 2023)
  • ($362,477.00) – this amount was recouped from the original contract with bo-mar industries for $395,105 for the vertical gateway element. $32,628 was not recoverable.

This brings the net impact of the redesign to $42,339.87 and brings the total project cost to $1.23 million out of an original budget of $1.25 million. However, as part of the redesign, Parks and Recreation also worked with the Bloomington Arts Commission (BAC) to include a separate art element. The BAC will receive $125,000 from the Bicentennial Bond Series C fund to solicit, select, and install a piece of public art in this location. Enough additional funds remain in this bond fund from the original issuance and interest accrued in the intervening years to pay for the art element through the BAC without negatively impacting other projects.

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