Bloomington city officials signed a letter of intent with an Indianapolis developer to build the city's downtown tech park, now called the Trades District. And the mayor talks about the possibility of banning plastic bags.
On this week's installment of Ask The Mayor, Mayor Mark Kruzan addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
Hren: You say at one point they city had to walk away from this proposal. What changed that put this developer back in the driver's seat of this project?
Kruzan: One was a real commitment to the tech sector. As part of this proposal, Envisage will have headquarters built for it in the certified tech park. To have that anchor and retain them is important. Other tech offices that will be built, about 40,000 square feet. The other big difference is that I was not interested in having the tax payers own another parking garage. So now we've negotiated that the developer will build, own and maintain the parking facility. Same as true to green space. In some regard they wanted the government to own that, but then we'd have to maintain it. So we wanted the totality of the land to be privately owned and maintained.
Hren: One thing I thought was interesting is the name change. It's now called the Trades District, which has a different connotation than Certified Tech Park. Does that change the goals or use of the land?
Kruzan: The goals remain the same. In the marketing, branding of it there is still a legally defined area known as a certified technology park from the state of Indiana. It's not the best in terms of branding. Given the trades and heritage of this area and IU group looked at this and helped us do the marketing and harkens back to the turn of the last century when we had the furniture factory and other trades that were serving this very part of downtown.
Hren: You mention residential units are part of this plan, but not 'student' housing. How do you accomplish that?
Kruzan: We're looking for housing that be year round residents of people who live and work in this trades district and other parts of downtown, but not living in a student apartment complex. So what the developer agreed to, we will put legal restrictions on the use of that property so it can't be rented out as student housing. And it's really that simple.