Public meeting to give update on numerous improvement projects

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

The City will provide regular public updates on a range of these improvements as they progress.

West First Street Reconstruction Project 

As part of the first phase of the Bloomington Hospital Re-Use Project to redevelop the existing IU Health Hospital site, West First Street will be reconstructed and improved from South Fairview Street to South College Avenue.  The project will replace water, storm sewer, and sanitary sewer infrastructure; add tree plots separating the road from sidewalks on both sides of the street and traffic calming or other enhancements consistent with its designation in Bloomington Transportation Plan as a Neighborhood Greenway route; and is expected to include one travel lane in each direction.

The City is hosting a virtual public meeting on Thursday, May 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. to discuss the proposed design of the First Street Reconstruction project.  At the meeting, exhibits of the proposed design will be discussed and there will be time to provide feedback and ask questions. Information about joining the Zoom meeting follows:  

More information about the 1st Street Reconstruction Project is available at  1st Street (Fairview to College) Reconstruction | City of Bloomington, Indiana.  More information about the Bloomington Hospital Re-Use Project is available at

Rev. Ernest D. Butler Park Playground

A new playground is currently being installed at the Rev. Ernest D. Butler Park in the Near West Side neighborhood, with financing from a Parks General Obligation Bond of $65,000, which is also supporting the installation of benches and concrete curbing around the perimeter of the playground.  The previous play structure was removed in January 2021.  Parks and Recreation Department staff have substantially completed excavation of the limestone bedrock to set 45 posts to support the new play structure. The swing set next to the playground, which is to be repainted as part of the project, remains open for use. 

Winslow Woods Park Playground

The contract for the purchase and installation of new playground equipment and poured-in-place rubber surfacing at Winslow Woods Park on South Highland Avenue was approved and awarded by the Board of Park Commissioners at their April 27 meeting.  Replacement of the existing playground (which was installed in 1990) is scheduled for this year.  The new playground and surfacing is being financed by a Parks General Obligation Bond for approximately $119,000. Information about the new playground design is available at Winslow Woods Park | City of Bloomington, Indiana.

Recover Forward Sidewalk Replacement Project

Damaged sidewalks are currently being removed and new sections poured on the north side of the 700, 800, and 900 blocks of West Sixth Street.  Improvements at this location will encompass 2374 feet of sidewalk on both sides of the street, including 12 ADA ramps, eight driveway entrances, and six alleyway entrances.

New sidewalk poured on the north side of the 700 block of West Sixth Street

Part of Mayor Hamilton’s Recover Forward initiative, the project is one of a $250,000 package of sidewalk replacement projects focusing investments in low- and moderate-income areas to improve ADA curb ramps, bike lane, and bike path pavement, and driveway and alley entrances, and repair sidewalk damage caused by street trees improving overall walkability in the areas that see high volumes of pedestrian traffic.  A 327-foot section of sidewalk along the east side of Elm Street from West Fourth Street to West Kirkwood Avenue is also slated for improvement, which will include two ADA ramps and two driveway entrances.  The selection of both sites was based on data from the 2018 Pavement Condition Report of the city’s 234 miles of the street network as well as data collected via staff site visits. 

South Maxwell Street Sidewalk

Construction will begin soon on a new section of sidewalk along the eastern side of South Maxwell Street from East Miller Drive to East Short Street.  This project was recommended and funded through by the City’s Council Sidewalk Committee to improve pedestrian safety in the area.  Construction will continue through the spring and early summer and is anticipated to be complete by the end of July.  More information is available here.  

Hidden River Pathway Project

The Hidden River Pathway Project is progressing with the replacement of the network of culverts that carry the Campus River (formerly the Jordan River) from Dunn Meadow on the Indiana University campus southwest under downtown Bloomington to 1st Street and College Avenue, where it reappears as Clear Creek. 

Last week, crews set precast structures in place along the pathway’s diagonal course from South Washington to Smith Street (behind the Rise) and poured the floors and walls of the cast-in-place section.  Contractors have coordinated with The Project School to diminish impacts on their afternoon pickup.  South Washington Street between East Third and Smith Streets is dedicated to Project School pickup traffic from 3 to 4 pm Monday through Thursday of this week, with flaggers directing traffic during that hour.   

Installation of electric cable conduits continues this week in the alley on the east side of Grant Street between Long Fei Restaurant and Trinity Church and across Grant to the alley between Soma and The Venue, requiring the closure of the alley on both sides of Grant for approximately three weeks.  The installation will also require closure of Grant Street through Friday, May 7.  

The playground and four trees at The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park (Third Street Park) were removed in February to accommodate the culvert replacement, and a large beech tree at the eastern side of the park was subsequently removed when it was determined that it would not survive the impacts of construction. The City’s Urban Forester continues to monitor the health of trees in the park. A site plan for the restoration of the playground, amenities, and trees is currently in development, with opportunities for engagement in the design process for Kid City summer day camp participants and Project School students, two populations that use the park regularly.  After completion, the site plan will be presented to CBU and the Parks and Recreation department for review and approval, and a request for playground equipment bids will be issued.  

As the parking lot on the east side of the Allison-Jukebox Community Center is serving as a staging area for the project, public parking there is limited to a few spaces for the duration of the project. 

Over the next two years, City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) and its contractor, Milestone Contractors, LLP will be reconstructing 1,829 feet of culverts.  In addition to stormwater improvements, some reconstruction of sanitary sewers and water main infrastructure will be simultaneously completed to support Bloomington’s vibrant downtown.  More information, maps, and updates about the Hidden River Pathway Project are available at