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Page last updated on February 9, 2024 at 1:14 pm

City Incorporates Public Art Installation in Final North Gateway Concept

January 22, 2024 - The City announced that it plans to move forward with the redesigned concept for the North Gateway, which incorporates stacked limestone blocks approximately 10' high and the word "Bloomington" in backlighted letters mounted to the limestone. The final design also incorporates space for a public art installation, a feature consistently requested by community members. The Bloomington Arts Commission will collaborate with Parks and Recreation to solicit design proposals and select the final art installation concept. Landscape architects Rundell Ernstberger Associates will develop the final North Gateway design to include a platform and dimensions for the public art installation.


City Asks for Input on Redesigned North Gateway Concept

The City shared artist renderings of the North Gateway, redesigned with feedback collected through 2023, on Nov. 30, 2023.

Feedback on the redesigned gateway concept was accepted between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15, 2023 online and by phone.


Redesigned North Gateway Concept

This design concept is not final; additional public feedback will be collected through Dec. 15, 2023 with suggestions for updates to the design.

Artist rendering of redesigned North Gateway concept, Nov. 2023

Artist rendering of redesigned North Gateway concept at night, Nov. 2023


Bicentennial Gateways Project Overview

The Bicentennial Gateway project will install a new gateway element at the north end of Miller-Showers Park in the triangle of land between College Avenue, Walnut Street, and the Old State Road 37 crossover between them.

Aerial view of the north end of Miller-Showers Park, and a rendering of the selected gateway location.
Current aerial view of the north end of Miller-Showers Park, and a rendering of the selected gateway location.

The gateway will be completed with new sidewalks and curb ramps for improved connectivity and accessibility, a reconstructed pedestrian refuge in the Old 37 crossover, local limestone blocks, native plants, and native trees (the project will remove 18 trees from the site, including several invasive Callery pear trees, and replant 26 trees).


Bicentennial Gateway Project Timeline

  • The Bloomington Common Council on Oct. 31, 2018, approved the sale of $10 million in bonds for a variety of Bicentennial projects, including the construction, art, and landscaping of four to six gateways to the City. A total of $1.25 million was set aside for the development and installation of the gateways.
  • The Board of Park Commissioners on July 23, 2019, approved a contract with Indianapolis-based Rundell Ernstberger Associates (REA) for $45,800 to complete conceptual design work on the Bicentennial gateways. Four potential gateway locations were identified: Arlington pedestrian bridge over State Road 45/46; Bloomfield Road at Twin Lakes Sports Park; State Road 46 and East Third Street; and the traffic island north of Miller-Showers Park.
  • Parks and Recreation held a public open house Dec. 15, 2019, to unveil the proposed concepts for three signature gateways: At Miller-Showers Park, on the Arlington pedestrian bridge on State Road 45/46, and Bloomfield Road near Twin Lakes Sports Park. The East Third Street site was eliminated from consideration, as it was located on private land. The conceptual designs included the proposed size, construction materials, themes, graphic features and architectural and landscape elements. A total of 34 public comments about the gateway concepts were received online between Dec. 10, 2019, and Feb. 10, 2020.
  • REA presented a Bicentennial gateway project update to the Board of Park Commissioners at their regular meeting on April 28, 2020. The three proposed gateway designs incorporated input from the public, Parks and Recreation staff, and City administration.
  • Parks and Recreation staff restarted the Bicentennial Gateway project after it was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff reviewed REA's conceptual designs for the three gateway sites and determined the estimated costs to be over budget. At their May 22, 2022 meeting, the Board of Park Commissioners approved an additional contract with REA for $133,925 for two, scaled-back gateway designs at Miller-Showers Park and the Arlington pedestrian bridge.
  • Final schematic concepts of the two gateway sites were presented to the Board of Park Commissioners at their Dec. 13, 2022 meeting. A public open house was held Dec. 15, and an additional 59 people submitted feedback and comments regarding the gateway designs online between Dec. 16, 2022, and Jan. 6, 2023.
  • The Indiana Department of Transportation in spring 2023 informed the City of its plans to replace the Arlington pedestrian bridge in the next 10 years. Staff eliminated the Arlington pedestrian bridge from consideration as a gateway site due to its limited lifespan.
  • A contract for $395,105 with bo-mar Industries for the structural design, fabrication, and installation of the Bicentennial gateway at Miller-Showers Park was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners on May 16, 2023. To date, $32,628 has been paid to bo-mar Industries for the structural engineering and associated design work of the gateway element.
  • A contract for $575,000 with Reed & Sons Construction for site work necessary for the installation of the gateway, and sidewalk and paving improvements to the surrounding area, was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners on July 27, 2023. To date, $13,759 has been paid to Reed & Sons Construction for project startup costs.
  • Parks and Recreation issued a news release Sept. 5, 2023 announcing the fall 2023 installation timeline for the monolith-style Bicentennial Gateway at Miller-Showers Park.
  • The Board of Public Works considered but did not act on requests to issue a Right of Way Permit for construction of the project at their Sept 12, Sept. 26, and Oct 10 meetings.
  • The City released an update Oct. 27 announcing the modification of the timeline for fabrication and installation of the gateway, to allow additional time for public input and feedback.
  • The missing 120-foot section of sidewalk in front of the former Steak N' Shake restaurant at 1919 N. College Ave was installed in November to improve connectivity in the gateway area and allow appropriate pedestrian detours during future phases of construction.
  • The Bloomington Arts Commission Public Art Subcommittee, at their regular meeting Feb. 9, 2024, heard a Gateway project update from Parks and Recreation Director Tim Street. The subcommittee is planning a visit to the Gateway site north of Miller-Showers Park in March 2024 to view the location in preparation for developing requests for proposals for a public art installation.



REA received $133,925 for gateway research and design via two different contracts: The first for conceptual design work for four proposed possible gateway areas, awarded at the Board of Park Commissioners meeting on July 23, 2019 and another for a scaled-back design for two potential gateway projects, at Miller-Showers Park and the Arlington pedestrian bridge awarded at the Board of Park Commissioners meeting on May 24, 2022.

A contract for $395,105 was awarded to Bo-Mar for the fabrication of the gateway itself at the Board of Park Commissioners meeting on May 26, 2023.

Contractor Reed and Sons was awarded a competitive bid contract for $575,000 for the site improvement work at the Board of Park Commissioners meeting on July 27, 2023. 


Frequent Questions and Comments

  • The gateway will overshadow the "Red, Blond, Black and Olive" sculpture.

Jean-Paul Darriau’s iconic limestone sculpture will remain in its home at Miller-Showers Park just south of the Gourley Pike crossover. The new gateway piece is located more than 400 feet to the north of the location where Red, Blond, Black and Olive has been exhibited since 2002. The sculpture was installed in the park in 1980, and moved to its current prominent location during a major renovation of Miller-Showers Park in 2002.


  • The gateway could conflict with future Walnut Street/College Avenue corridor decisions.

The pending Walnut/College corridor study was considered during the design phase of the gateway project, and the gateway was placed in a location that should remain unaffected regardless of the result of the corridor study. One possibility of the corridor study may involve the installation of a roundabout in the vicinity of the Gourley Pike/Old State Road 37 crossover between College Avenue and Walnut Street. This could affect portions of the public infrastructure in the area, but planned investment for this project was strategic to make short-term improvements.


The original scope of the gateway project considered multiple possible locations around Bloomington. Many locations lacked a footprint of publicly owned or available land on which to place a gateway element. The north end of Miller-Showers Park is separated from the natural elements of the rest of the park due to the narrow configuration of the park itself, and the Old State Road 37 vehicle crossover. The selected gateway location is in close proximity to the intersection of North Walnut Street and State Road 46, offering a prominent view of the gateway for people entering and leaving Bloomington.