BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A new monolith gateway tower could be going up very soon in a park in Bloomington and it’s all to celebrate the city’s bicentennial.
The $1.1 million dollar project has been in the works for the last five years. The plan includes building a 40-foot tower displaying the word Bloomington from top to bottom in big LED letters.
“It’s close to the busiest intersection in town where a lot of people come to Bloomington to visit for some of our great arts and cultural events, IU game days, graduation, move-in week, or whatever it may be, this would be a welcoming piece,” said Tim Street, the operations and development director with the Bloomington Parks and Recreation.
Some Bloomington residents think it’ll be a positive addition to the community.
“I think it will give the wow factor and it’ll be right across the road from us and it will be awesome,” said Stephanie Simmons, the assistant general manager at the Verve Apartment Complex across the street from the park.
Others, not so much.
“They are calling it an artwork but as an artist, in my opinion, it has no artistic value,” one frustrated Bloomington resident said.
“This is not artwork,” another frustrated Bloomington resident said. “This monolith is the ugliest thing I have ever seen and it will come back to harm us.”
At a Board of Public Works meeting earlier this week, several people spoke out about the project citing a number of concerns.
Their concerns include light pollution, the impact it could have on wildlife, and how it may overshadow an art sculpture by Jean-Paul Darriau that is already at the park.
“We have definitely been hearing some concerns about the project,” Street said. “We did have a public engagement process, and unfortunately we are hearing from some people now who weren’t aware of that so of course we want to listen to that and take that into account.”
Members of the parks department said the tower will be at least 900 feet away from wildlife, which tend to stay near the ponds in the park and because of the design of the tower, light pollution should not be a factor as it will be internally lit.
Additionally, the project includes new sidewalk improvements and pedestrian upgrades inside the park which a majority of people are in favor of, it’s just the art piece itself that has gotten some backlash.
Those new improvements were supposed to begin next week, but they’re on hold until the board’s next meeting which means the entire project is ultimately on hold as well.
The manufacturer in this project is bo-mar Industries and the designer in this project is Rundell Ernstberger Associates.
Bloomington residents with questions, comments or concerns can contact the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department at Parks@Bloomington.in.gov.