Trades District Garage opens with ribbon-cutting, more parklets expand open-air dining downtown

BLOOMINGTON – Numerous infrastructure improvement projects are underway this season to advance community goals, including safety, sustainability, accessibility, equity, economic vitality, and quality of life in Bloomington. 

Projects are described on the City’s website, and regular public updates offered on a range of these improvements as they progress.

Trades District Garage Opening

The Trades District Garage supporting the city’s newest employment hub and cultural destination will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 17 at 10 a.m.  Members of the public are invited to attend the event, which will feature remarks by Mayor John Hamilton and other local leaders, tours of the facility, and an opportunity to collaborate in the artwork commissioned for the structure.  The ribbon-cutting will be held in keeping with current public health protocols for physical distancing and face covering.  Event parking is available in the gravel lot just north of West Tenth Street off Rogers Street.  

Located between the Showers City Hall building and the B-Line Trail, the 350-space garage featuring commercial/retail space facing the B-Line will complement the Trades District’s burgeoning business activity at The Mill, the Kiln (future office and commercial space) and additional sites in development, for which Bloomington is being recognized as Indiana’s Rising Tech City.  Equipped with electric vehicle charging stations and a solar array, the Trades District Garage and the replacement Fourth Street Garage (scheduled to open this August) will be the first in Indiana to achieve Parksmart certification, a sustainability credential.  Realized through the One Percent for the Arts Ordinance, the artwork “Aurora Almanac” by Lafayette-based artist Esteban Garcia Bravo will be installed in the stairwells of the Trades garage in the second half of the year.  The ribbon-cutting will offer one of numerous opportunities for community members to collaborate in the artwork by designing tiles to be included in it.   

More information about monthly or annual parking at the Trades District Garage is available online at Monthly Garage Parking Permits and Parking Garage Information | City of Bloomington, Indiana, through the Garage Customer Service Representatives during regular business hours at (812) 369-3622, or through the Parking Customer Service Office at (812) 349-3436.  Inquiries about leasing commercial space in the Trades garage may be made through the City’s Economic and Sustainable Development department, at (812) 349-3418.

Parklet Expansion and Kirkwood Seating Continue to Bolster Downtown Business

The expansion of the City’s parklet program this season will increase the opportunity for safe, outdoor dining to support the economic vitality of Bloomington’s downtown. Parklets convert parking spaces into expanded, physically distanced seating that is protected from traffic to serve adjacent restaurants. Spaces being added Wednesday, March 31 will increase the total number of parklets throughout the downtown to 11, as mapped here .  

Additional parklets may be implemented based on requests from downtown restaurants, which may be made at this online application:  Additional requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, balancing needs for expanded seating with availability of parking, safety, feasibility of implementation, and other factors.  There is no cost to the restaurant to have a parklet.  

Together with the parklet program and free 15-minute pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) parking spaces throughout the downtown, the renewal of pedestrian-only blocks along Kirkwood Avenue this season will work to bolster the city’s downtown economy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

From March 25 through June 30, the following three sections of Kirkwood will be closed to motorized vehicles to allow for expanded seating: 

  • Indiana Avenue to Dunn Street
  • Dunn Street to Grant Street
  • The west half of the block between Walnut Street and Washington Street 

The decision to renew the conversion of these Kirkwood blocks this season was made in collaboration with Downtown Bloomington, Inc. and the Kirkwood Community Association, and with input from affected downtown businesses. Downtown Bloomington, Inc., conducted a survey of businesses in order to build consensus and determine the most effective measures. The Board of Public Works voted to approve the temporary conversion at their March 16 meeting.