(BLOOMINGTON) – The completion of the city’s newest street — and the extension of another — mean that the City of Bloomington’s Trades District is officially open for business. The community is invited to gather at the intersection of Maker Way and North Madison Street on Friday, May 31 at noon for a ribbon cutting and launch party for the City’s new innovation district.
The celebration will showcase companies locating in the district, the award-winning rehabilitation of a historic factory building for The Mill, and additional properties available for development or adaptive reuse. Taking place against the lively backdrop of Food Truck Friday (the popular weekly event has relocated to the Trades District this season), the launch party will be a family-friendly gathering, featuring interactive exhibits courtesy of WonderLab to turn even the youngest innovators’ gears.
Running east-west between North Madison Street and North Rogers Street just north of West 10th Street, Maker Way was built to serve the city’s new economic and cultural hub. The district’s infrastructure has been further developed with the extension of North Madison between 10th and 11th Streets, providing access to the front entrance of The Mill (642 N. Madison)
“With The Mill at full steam and the infrastructure in place, the Trades District is rapidly coming into view,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “The investment made by the state, the City, the university, and a number of individual and corporate investors will amplify Bloomington’s thriving tech culture and grow good-paying jobs.”
Along with remarks by officials from the City, the university, and the business community, the launch party will feature optional tours of The Mill, a co-working space and business incubator housed in a former Showers Brothers Furniture Company plant. Tours highlighting Bloomington’s history of innovation will include a stop inside the Kiln, another structure from the Showers era available for transformation within the new employment district. Future development sites will be indicated to offer those attending a glimpse into the district’s future, and five final designs for the public artwork to be installed at the Trades Plaza will be on view.
With summer vacation officially underway, families are encouraged to attend the event with children — who will have the opportunity to have fun with technology at activity stations staffed by the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology. Those attending the launch party may purchase lunch from food trucks stationed nearby. The Trades District may be accessed on foot or by bicycle via the B-Line Trail. Parking will be available during the launch party in the lot at 10th and Rogers Streets.