Public Engagement Sought In Hospital Site Redevelopment Process

(BLOOMINGTON) – The City invites residents to participate in and learn more about the process of redeveloping the current site of IU Health Bloomington Hospital. 

A new website will be launched on June 1 (accessible from this link) to host project updates and welcome residents to engage in the site planning process throughout the master planning period this year. IU Health Bloomington Hospital, an anchor in downtown Bloomington for over a century, will vacate the property when the new IU Health Regional Academic Health Center opens on the city’s east side in 2021.  

The City purchased the 24-acre site at Second and Rogers from IU Health in 2018 in order to re-envision and pursue redevelopment options to help meet community goals for affordable housing, sustainable development, equity and inclusion. In early 2020, the City, through its Redevelopment Commission, contracted with the architecture and urban planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to oversee the process of developing a master plan for the site, including intensive community engagement and site design options. The master planning team recently began working with the Hospital Reuse Committee, a group of more than 30 community members who have been involved with the City on this project since 2015.

“This downtown site presents a very rare and exciting opportunity to re-imagine and activate a key Bloomington location in ways that will foster our whole community, strengthen our economy, and sustain our environment,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “I encourage anyone who loves Bloomington and cares about our future to get involved in the process of imagining and achieving a new, inclusive and dynamic vision for this extraordinary property.” 

Community members may choose among numerous ways to participate in the master planning process including the project website feedback form, town hall meetings, small focus groups, newsletters, and email updates. A first stage of the master planning process will include facilitated small focus group sessions and individual discussions with stakeholders identified with assistance from the Hospital Reuse Committee, conducted virtually by SOM beginning in late May. 

“This is an opportunity for the public to participate in the initial planning discussions so that we are sure the future development reflects both the needs of our citizens and the ambiance of our City,” said Senator Vi Simpson, Chair of the Hospital Reuse Committee. 

These sessions will be conducted virtually by SOM and will begin in late May.  Public engagement will continue with a virtual town hall to be held on June 16 at 6 p.m., during which community members can share ideas about uses the site should serve and how the plan should embody community values, such as affordability, walkability, placemaking, innovation, and sustainability. Residential and commercial water customers will receive information in their June utility bill about the project and how to participate in these public engagement opportunities. 

The master planning process is building upon the recommendations created for the site by a team of nationally renowned land use and urban planning experts representing the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI created their report after a 2018 visit to Bloomington during which team members gathered input from more than 100 community stakeholders and developed a set of recommendations and options for the reuse of the site.  

SOM will pursue ULI’s recommendations for designing the site for mixed use, including retail, residential, and office space, possibly incorporating a community center, and appropriately reintegrating the “mega-block” into its surroundings by reintroducing the street grid, and connecting to nearby parks and trails.