BLOOMINGTON – The City of Bloomington has announced plans for $34 million in new investments in public safety including the issuance of $29.5 million in general revenue bonds to fund the projects.
Details are available online at https://bton.in/uevIy.
The proposed improvements include purchasing and renovating the 64,000-square-foot CFC Showers building contiguous to City Hall to establish a new public safety headquarters, including relocating the police station and fire and police administration offices. The improvements also include rebuilding Fire Station #1 (E 4th St), remodeling Fire Station #3 (Woodlawn Ave), and constructing a new Fire Department training/logistics center and storage facility.
“The future of Bloomington is ours to shape,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “That future should continue our tradition of top-notch, responsive public safety that meets the needs of residents without barriers. That future should also honor our past. These improvements do both as we modernize public safety for the next generations while preserving a historic structure.”
The CFC Showers project, estimated at $23.5 million, allows the Police Department (BPD) and the Fire Department (BFD) administration offices to be housed together for the first time, centrally located downtown in new and improved facilities, and as part of City Hall with dedicated parking. After evaluating other options, including new construction or expansions of existing facilities, the purchase, and renovation of CFC Showers was determined to be the most efficient, functional, and cost-effective. The CFC Showers building is projected to serve the needs of BPD and BFD administration for at least the next 30 years with room for expansion and flexibility. The proposal to purchase the CFC Showers building located at 320 W. 8th Street was first outlined in July of 2022 (https://bton.in/i!7hA).
“The Bloomington Police Department has been in need of a new physical facility, particularly following the flood damage of 2021,” said Bloomington Police Department Chief Mike Diekhoff. “A new police headquarters is an investment in the future of policing in our community. It will strengthen public safety and help us retain and recruit new officers.”
The new capital investments also include a major remodel, estimated at $5.5 million, of Fire Station #1 located at 300 E 4th Street. The crucial renovations would bring the building up to current standards, remove the basement, avoid complications of mold remediation, fix known issues, and provide energy efficiency updates. The new layout also follows best practices for maintaining an inclusive space by removing group sleeping areas, showers, and restrooms. The current, temporary location (https://bton.in/-GAww) for Station #1 is not a feasible long-term location.
A major renovation, estimated at $2.5 million, of Fire Station #3 located at 810 N. Woodlawn Avenue would similarly bring the building up to current standards and follow best practices for inclusion.
The remaining $2.5 million investment would construct a much-needed permanent Fire Department training/logistics center and storage facility. The proposed facility would be built on the S. Walnut St city-owned property (edge of Winston Thomas property, https://bton.in/n7PXM).
“Community service is the driving force behind everything the Bloomington Fire Department does,” said Bloomington Fire Department Chief Jason Moore. “These changes allow us to integrate and streamline processes, improve communication with the BPD, and improve firefighter training. Ultimately, these measures result in improved public safety for the Bloomington community and a more inclusive and forward-thinking fire department.”
The $34 million capital improvements will be funded by the aforementioned $29.5 million general revenue bonds, plus funds from the Community Revitalization Enhancement District (CRED) as well as the sale of the existing Police Station property. The 2022 Bond Series would be paid for with annually appropriated revenue from the economic development local income tax (ED-LIT), which the Council approved in May of 2022 in significant part explicitly to support public safety enhancements.
Staff will present the proposed projects and bonds to the City Council on November 30 at their regular session beginning at 6:30 p.m.