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Bloomington Residents Weigh In On Fourth Street Garage Design Plan

Bloomington residents talk with consultants during a public input session.

Residents may offer suggestions on the scale, efficiency and operation of the garage, plus ideas for a public art component. (Alex Eady, WTIU/WFIU News)

Bloomington residents had the chance to weigh in on preliminary design plans for a new Fourth Street parking garage during the first public input session Thursday night.

The city has contracted with Indianapolis-based architecture firm CSO to lead the rebuild of the downtown garage. City Council approved an $18 million tax revenue bond in April to demolish and construct a 500-space garage with lower level retail space.  

CSO Architect Joe Raper says engaging with the public early on in the process is key to designing the best fitting garage.

“You need to build consensus, everybody needs ownership of the final product. And it just goes a lot smoother and is more responsive to the need,” he says.

The city wants to add other amenities including public restrooms, bike lockers, and electric vehicle charging stations. 

Designers are also trying to meet standards outlined by Parksmart, an initiative that prioritizes sustainable and energy efficient features for parking structures. 

Bloomington resident Tim Mueller says he’s in favor of the proposed amenities, but he says he hopes the garage blends well with the existing structures downtown. 

“I think it’s real important that the parking garage reflect the context of the downtown, which is historical buildings, traditional materials, horizontal lines,” he says.  

CSO consultants say they are also surveying residents for suggestions on the scale, efficiency and operation of the garage, plus ideas for a public art component.

City officials say the garage is now being decommissioned, which involves removing signage, lighting and other materials in preparation for demolition.

CSO will return at the end of May with a first draft of a design.

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