(BLOOMINGTON) – Plans for the construction of a parking facility in the Trades District have progressed with the selection of a design firm.
Having issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) January 7, a selection committee comprising members of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, BEDC, City Council, Redevelopment Commission, Parking Commission, and internal City staff selected Indianapolis-based CSO Architects February 18.
The Trades District garage will accommodate up to 300 additional parking spaces in the city’s new employment district just north of downtown, where three potential sites for the structure have been identified. With the design firm identified, the City will hire a Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc) in early March, and elicit public input in April. Funding to build the garage was approved by vote of City Council in December.
At the same time, having undertaken intensive study of the Fourth Street garage, the City has received a report of the full scope of the facility’s deterioration and a cost analysis of repairs that would allow it to reopen. The garage was closed January 2 to protect public safety after a structural assessment revealed significant degradation of the facility.
Structural engineering consultant CE Solutions submitted results of their most recent evaluation to the City February 15, detailing repairs to several structural elements of the garage that would stabilize the garage and effectively extend its lifespan by five years. The cost of repairs to correct several areas of damage to structural beams, strengthen joints, slow future deterioration of the facility’s steel and concrete components, and waterproof the surface was estimated at $1.4 million. This estimate is approximately $300,000 more than the first analysis completed last summer.
CE Solutions is currently preparing construction bid documents detailing these concerns that will be issued on March 10. After a public bidding process, it is anticipated that a contract will be awarded to a construction firm the first week of April, with work starting later that month. Completion of repairs is anticipated by early August 2019, in time for the return of the IU student population in mid-August.
The appropriation ordinance required to approve the expenditure of funds for those repairs is scheduled for consideration by City Council at their March 20, March 27, and April 3 meetings. In December 2018, the City initiated the process of repairing the garage when the council voted against a proposed bond issue to fund the construction of a new one.
“We’ve seen how critical the Fourth Street garage has been to downtown growth, and we know that growing the Trades District will also depend on our parking capacity there,” said Deputy Mayor Mick Renneisen. “At the same time, climate change and shifting automobile usage demand that we reconsider current parking infrastructure design, so we’re committed to starting with a new, sustainable garage model in the Trades District, incorporating such features as solar panels, bike lockers, electric vehicle charging stations, and a level that can be converted to other uses if future conditions warrant.”