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Bloomington Chamber Petitioning City To Build New 4th Street Garage Rather Than Repair It

Exterior of 4th Street Bloomington city parking garage. Exterior looks aged and gray.

Fourth Street parking garage in Bloomington, IN. (Steve Burns, WTIU/WFIU News)

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is asking its members to sign a petition in support of the city building a new Fourth Street Parking Garage.

The council rejected a proposal in December to tear down and rebuild the aging structure and instead asked the city to repair the garage. But an evaluation of the garage last month revealed repairs would cost about $300,000 more than anticipated.

That has some council members reconsidering whether repairing the garage is the best option.

Chamber Vice President Anne Bono says greater access to parking is essential to the area’s economic viability.

"We started hearing from businesses that they were decreasing their inventory because their sales were a lot lower than they were last year," Bono says. "People were no longer coming downtown in the afternoons because they were having trouble finding parking. And employers were looking to move elsewhere."

Estimates show demolishing and rebuilding the garage could cost as much as $19.5 million, which the city would fund through bonds.

Bono says the petition will directly guide the council’s decision on how to proceed.

"We also sent it to some other membership groups as well to send out their membership and within two hours we had over one hundred organizations sign onto the petition," Bono says. "It keeps growing – I think we’re almost at 200 now."

The council could take the issue up at its Wednesday meeting.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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