BLOOMINGTON — Aldermen could provide direction Monday on which "placemaking" projects recommended by the Downtown Task Force they want the city staff to implement.
The task force proposed a set of ideas intended to create inviting public spaces through beautification and public art and making the downtown more friendly to foot traffic. One suggestion was to transform the block of Jefferson Street between Main and Center streets in some way so motorists and pedestrians can share it.
At the City Council's committee-of-the-whole work session at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, Community Development Director Bob Mahrt will present a draft plan and suggested implementation timeline that the council will act on at a future meeting.
The improvements do not include a proposed catalyst project to replace the deteriorating, 43-year-old Market Street parking deck with a structure housing the Bloomington Public Library, a Connect Transit bus transfer station and public parking that was the centerpiece of a report the task force approved Oct. 24.
One "placemaking" suggestion was to make the block of Jefferson on the north side of the McLean County Museum of History a street shared by pedestrians and motorists.
"How are you going to do that? My answer is: 'I don't have a clue,'" said interim City Manager Steve Rasmussen. "But if that is something the council wants to move on we'll put all of the smart engineers to work on it, and we'll come up with some ideas that might achieve that vision and ... what it might cost."
The suggestion included exploring whether the original brick street under the pavement in that block could be restored as part of the shared-street vision.
A test determined it was not practically feasible because there are very few bricks remaining under the pavement and those that are there are at a deeper level, said Public Works Director Jim Karch.
"Jefferson Street is very much in need of resurfacing, as are many of the streets we are working on in the downtown," said Karch. "We want to touch base with the council because they want it to be a brick street. We do not want to spend $30,000 to $40,000 to resurface that street and then have to tear it out."