Editor’s note: The following is a press release from the City of Bloomington. Bloom has republished it here with minor edits for style and clarity.
The City of Bloomington has published the master plan report for redevelopment of the current Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital site. In 2018, the City contracted to purchase the 24-acre site in order to strengthen the downtown area with jobs and affordable housing, and to pursue additional community goals for sustainability, equity, and inclusion. The plan provides a broad, overall framework for the site’s redevelopment, focused on the 24 acres but also connecting with the wider area, to frame and align future decisions with the community’s goals.
IU Health Bloomington Hospital, an anchor in downtown Bloomington for over a century, plans to vacate the property when the new IU Health Regional Academic Health Center opens on the city’s east side, scheduled for late 2021.
On Tuesday, January 19, at 5 p.m. the plan report is scheduled to be presented to the City’s Redevelopment Commission (RDC), which retained the architecture and urban planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to manage a nine-month process of master planning, design conceptualization, and intensive community engagement and public input for the site at 2nd and Rogers. Upon the hospital’s planned relocation in late 2021 to the new Regional Academic Health Center, IU Health will demolish the existing hospital and preparing the site for redevelopment.
“The chance to redevelop this key site in downtown Bloomington is a once-in-a-century opportunity for our community to re-imagine our future, to pursue affordable housing, economic vitality, sustainability, and quality of life,” says Mayor John Hamilton. “We’re very grateful for all the residents who are engaging in this process to help make Bloomington better.”
The master plan envisions the site as “a unique new hub in the daily life of Bloomingtonians that is incrementally developed as a mixed-use destination, open and welcoming to all, thriving as a new neighborhood in the tapestry of communities that make up Bloomington.”
Elements the plan seeks to incorporate in the site redevelopment include the following:
- A spectrum of housing types, including significant development of affordable/workforce housing to establish a neighborhood that promotes diversity, sustainability, and people-first street design.
- Connection with adjacent neighborhoods McDoel Gardens and Prospect Hill and integration with them by maintaining appropriate scale at the transitions, breaking up the existing mega-block, and restoring the north-south street grid.
- An east-west Greenway, “living street,” or “linear park”—a tree-lined, accessible green space and pedestrian corridor providing a connection to the B-Line trail and nearby parks as well as an outdoor gathering space.
- Activation of 2nd Street as a community corridor with mixed-use development favoring active ground floor use.
- Environmentally friendly considerations for stormwater management, hardscaping and planting, and other infrastructure.
- Linkage to key City assets to strengthen connections between people and places, and development of other community assets.
Since April 2020, more than 700 stakeholders, public forum participants, and survey respondents have given input on the master planning effort. The master planning team also coordinated efforts with the Hospital Reuse Committee, a group of more than 30 community members who have been involved with the City on this project since 2015.
“Since 2015, the Hospital Reuse Committee has met with and gathered input from hundreds of residents and stakeholders,” says former State Senator Vi Simpson, who co-chairs the committee with Mayor Hamilton. “The important task of prioritizing community input with the Master Planning Team has been a years-long effort, and the results are reflected in this Master Plan.”
A draft of the finalized master plan was presented to the Bloomington Common Council on November 18, and to the Hospital Reuse Committee on December 4. Residents are invited to visit the project website at www.bloomingtonhospitalsite.com to review the master plan report and leave feedback.