(BLOOMINGTON) – The process of building the Trades District garage launched with the January 7 issuance of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the design portion of the construction. Prospective design and build firms convened January 14 for an informational meeting about the project to construct a parking facility for up to 300 vehicles in the city’s new employment district just north of downtown.
Funding to build the garage was approved by a vote of City Council in December; three potential sites for the structure have been identified within the district. Responses to the RFQ must be submitted by January 28 for review by a committee comprising members of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, City Council, Redevelopment Commission, Parking Commission, and internal staff.
With the closing of the Fourth Street garage, its approximately 300 temporarily displaced permit holders have been reassigned alternate reserved spots at the location of their choosing, either the Convention Center surface lot or one of the two City garages on Morton Street. The Fourth Street garage was closed January 2 to protect public safety after inspections revealed significant structural deterioration. Last month, City Council voted to repair the garage instead of demolishing it and building a new facility.
The City has contracted with CE Solutions, a structural engineering consultant, to conduct the next step of inspections to determine whether repairs to extend the garage’s viability for five years can be completed within budgetary limits. If the reassessment of the facility’s structural condition confirms the feasibility of repairs, construction bid documents will be prepared and issued within the next 45 days to identify the company that will provide engineering services. Construction is slated to begin in April, weather permitting, and to take four to six months once it has begun.
While the City is evaluating the Fourth Street garage and undertaking the process to build a parking facility in the Trades District, it is embarking on a complementary effort to assess parking resources within the community’s larger transportation network. In coming weeks, the City will issue an RFQ for a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan to explore current infrastructure, anticipate future needs, and propose investment that incentivizes alternatives to driving, such as transit, ridesharing, walking, biking, and working remotely.