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The 4th Street Parking Garage is currently closed.

 

Clearance: 7' 0"

Entrance Location: 100 W. 4th

Hours of Operation: Open 24/7

Hourly Rate: $.50 per hour (Accepts nickels, dimes and quarters)

 

4th Street Garage Demo Work

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the City take down the old garage?

In late 2018, a structural engineering study determined that the 4th Street Garage (built in 1985) was structurally unsound and unsafe for use. The garage was closed to parkers January 1, 2019. The structure had deteriorated more quickly than anticipated, and would require costly repairs that would only extend the life of the garage for a few years. City Council voted to raze the badly deteriorated garage and replace it with a more environmentally sustainable structure that would maximize the capacity for parking at that site. Demolition was a step that could be undertaken while design of the new structure was evolving. 

 

Why has construction work stopped at the garage site?

Design of the structure has been ongoing since November 2018. Demolition and pre-construction activities took place September through November 2019. The approved design for the replacement garage anticipated the acquisition of the property at 222 South Walnut Street as an opportunity to maximize capacity for parking without exceeding a height considered to be out of scale with the structure’s environs. The recent denial of the City’s attempt to acquire the property has temporarily halted construction. 

 

A timeline of events related to the City’s acquisition of property at 222 South Walnut follows:

  • September 2018: City staff meets with Juan Carlos Carrasquel to discuss his property at 222 South Walnut in context of plans for the parking garage.  (Carrasquel had purchased the property for $500,000 in April 2018.)

  • October 2018: City staff, construction consultant, and architects meet with property owner to discuss the possibility of integrating 222 South Walnut into footprint for garage design.

  • April 12, 2019: City staff meet with property owner to discuss site acquisition terms.

  • Late April 2019: As required by statute, City obtains two appraisals from two independent appraisers, establishing average value of property at 222 South Walnut of $587,500.

  • May 8, 2019: City staff and property owner discuss terms for purchase. Property owner rejects City’s offer to purchase 222 South Walnut for $587,500 and proposes counteroffer of $1.5 million.

  • City and property owner come to impasse on offer to purchase due to difference in appraisal and counteroffer from property owner.

  • Summer 2019: City files petition in Monroe County Circuit Court to acquire property by mechanism of eminent domain.

  • December 20, 2019: Monroe County Circuit Court Judge denies the City’s petition, citing the owner’s objection that the proposed garage includes commercial use and therefore the City is not seeking the property for a public purpose.  

  • The City has filed a motion seeking leave to amend its legal complaint to remove the commercial space from the project. There is no statutory timeline for the Judge to rule on this motion. Construction activities are therefore paused until a ruling is issued. Once construction begins, it is expected to require 9-12 months to complete. 

 

What is the source of funding for the Fourth Street Garage project?

Funding for the project comes from Tax Increment Finance funds with approval by the Redevelopment Commission, the statutory body that oversees use of these funds. The source of TIF funds is the increase in property taxes generated on new development in that district. Project expenses include such things as land acquisition, design, demolition, and construction, and total costs of $12.7 million are projected. The City Council also had to approve the sale of bonds for the project and did so.

 

A map of Bloomington’s TIF districts can be found on the City of Bloomington website, here.

 

Is the end of 2020 still the projected completion date for a new garage?

No, the delay in acquiring the property at 222 S. Walnut Street has caused a delay in the completion of the parking garage.  Once construction begins, construction is expected to take 9-12 months. The overall design of the facility is substantially complete. If a favorable ruling on the amended complaint is received in the land acquisition case, construction will be able to commence without delay.

 

Are there negative impacts of the delay in construction?

The projected delay in the construction of the new garage will lengthen the period during which residents, employees and visitors to downtown Bloomington will need to seek alternate locations for their vehicles.  The delay also entails a cost of approximately $2000/wk in fees relating to construction management, including securing and managing the site. Some adjacent businesses have reported a decrease in sales and visits that they attribute to parking challenges related to the absence of the 4th Street facility.

 

Will the garage include commercial space as originally anticipated?

Current plans for the garage will not include the originally anticipated commercial space due to the Judge’s ruling. In addition to more than 500 parking spaces, the design designates space for the Parking Services Office on the ground level of the structure along the Walnut Street facade.  In addition, the garage will feature public restrooms, bicycle parking, and lockers on the ground floor. The removal of commercial space from the design creates room for approximately 20 additional parking spaces. 

 

Why was commercial space originally incorporated in the garage design?

Nationally recognized planning principles hold that urban buildings should be designed to create activity and interest at the street level through the provision of commercial, retail or hospitality activities on the ground floor level.  Bloomington zoning laws follow this principle, although developers may obtain waivers/variances to modify a development if warranted. If the garage design does not include commercial space, alternate ways to activate the adjacent street may include creating space for food trucks or other pop-up sidewalk activity.  The presence of public restrooms, bicycle parking, and lockers on the ground floor will also ensure regular activity along the ground floor of the building.  

 

Would the request for a waiver have to get approval from the Plan Commission or City  Council? What is the timeline for that process?

As with every development (public or private), the City of Bloomington Plan Commission must approve a waiver to modify a development. The City will take the design petition to the Plan Commission when the property dispute is resolved. It is estimated that this process could take up to 6 months to resolve.

 

How is the City facilitating parking during this period?

The City will pursue an extension of its lease with the County for surface parking south of 3rd Street (near the NAPA Auto Parts store), where current permit holders will continue to be able to park, until the opening of the new 4th Street Garage. Non-permit holders may park in this lot free of charge after hours and on weekends.  

 

Is there an opportunity to turn the construction site into a temporary surface lot?

No, the ground cannot be safely turned into a temporary surface lot.  

 

Will the upcoming convention center project impact the availability of nearby surface lots?

No, the upcoming convention center expansion project will not affect the surface lots currently used by employees, customers, residents and visitors. The construction phase of the convention center project is expected to begin after the completion of the 4th Street Garage project.

 

Will the City make changes to local traffic flow during the period of delay?  If so, what will those be?

Yes, the City has re-opened an additional lane on Walnut between 3rd and 4th Streets to facilitate smoother traffic flow in the area. 

 

What additional steps will be taken to ensure the safety of the construction site?

The construction site has been secured. The City will place vehicle barricades preventing vehicle flow on the north-south alley between 3rd Street and the the east-west alley off of College Avenue.

 

What are the other options for parking near the downtown while the garage construction project continues?

The City continues to offer public parking in the Morton Street Garage (at Morton and 6th Streets) and at the Walnut Street Garage (Walnut & 7th Streets). In addition, short-term, on-street, metered parking is available throughout the downtown. Free parking is also available in the surface lot at the southeast corner of Third Street and College Avenue after 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and all-day on Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition, construction of the Trades District Parking Garage just south of 10th and Rogers Streets is underway and will be completed in late 2020 or early 2021. This will add more than 350 spaces to the overall inventory of structured parking spaces downtown. 

The City is exploring other short- and long-term options for parking in the downtown. 

 

What are the public transportation routes that best serve the downtown, especially those near other garages?

The City of Bloomington encourages all residents to review public transit options, especially when traveling to the downtown core. Lines serving the downtown include the 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 lines. Following is a map of the downtown Bloomington Transit routes, which can also be found at https://bloomingtontransit.com/.