Monroe county council on course to pay $1.25 million for land to develop limestone heritage tourist, educational destination

As soon as Monroe County councilors approve the purchase agreements that have been drawn up, a total of $1.25 million will be paid by the county to three different land owners to create a site where the history of the area’s limestone heritage is documented. Quarry holes are a feature of the land to be acquired.

If some property near the near the Woolery Mill and the mill property itself were in play as a possible limestone heritage site, they’re no longer on the table, based on comments from county councilors after their work session on Tuesday.

At its Tuesday work session, the county council scheduled an executive session, for Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. to talk about the land acquisition. The topic of land acquisition is one of the exceptions given in Indiana’s Open Door Law for meeting in a closed session. Governmental entities that meet in executive session still have to give notice to the public about the fact that the meeting is going to take place.

The next regular meeting of the Monroe County council is scheduled for Feb. 11, when final approval of  the land deals between the county and the three different property owners could take place. Continue reading “Monroe county council on course to pay $1.25 million for land to develop limestone heritage tourist, educational destination”

Owners of demolished house fight Bloomington’s $83.5K fine two ways: Court action, appeal to BZA

After the owners of a house on West 7th Street demolished it last year, the city of Bloomington imposed an $83,500 fine—for not first getting a certificate of zoning compliance.

Before the house was demolished, it was reviewed for possible historic designation. According to city officials, it was still under the review process, when it was demolished.

The city imposed the fine in late October, after the house was demolished on Sept. 27.

What has happened since then?

Baker and Holdman immediately appealed to the city’s board of zoning appeals (BZA). A bit later, in mid-December, they filed a mandamus action in Monroe’s circuit court. Continue reading “Owners of demolished house fight Bloomington’s $83.5K fine two ways: Court action, appeal to BZA”

Bloomington city council OKs new conservation district, gets a quick lesson in black history

When the 1940 U.S. census was taken in Bloomington, Indiana, the enumerator who visited 935 W. 7th Street took down the information about the residents of the house from Ada Deal, a 40-year-old black woman.

She was born in Kentucky, like her husband, Maceo, who was one year older. The Deals had nine children at that time, ranging from seven-month-old Charlotte to 19-year-old Mary. They owned the house they lived in, which was valued at $1,200.

Maceo Deal, who’s listed as the “head of household,” is described as an “interior decorator” who worked for a department store.

Deal got a mention a couple weeks ago, at the Dec. 4 meeting of Bloomington’s city council. That’s when the council gave unanimous approval to  a new conservation district on the west side of town, where Deal used to live. A conservation district is similar to, but less restrictive than, a historic district.

It was New West Side citizen Betty Bridgwaters, who cited Deal, when she made remarks from the public podium.

Deal’s name came up in connection with some descriptions of local black history, which left the staff report about the new district “a little skewed,” as Bridgwaters put it. Continue reading “Bloomington city council OKs new conservation district, gets a quick lesson in black history”

An evolution from humans to birds—a portrait of the artist

On Wednesday morning, the cavernous, brick-walled theater space at Bloomington’s FAR Center for Contemporary Arts stood empty except for a stack of lumber, each piece a pre-cut and bolted-together wooden sandwich of sorts.

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“Archaeopteryx” build at Bloomington’s FAR Center for Contemporary Arts, July 10–12, 2019. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Artist Nicholas Paul DeBruyne set about reducing that stack by laying out the sandwiches pairwise end-to-end in a grid of joints that eventually took up most of the floor. Over the next few hours, these basic bones would get fastened together and tilted towards the ceiling to form the framing elements of a piece of art called “Archaeopteryx.”

The in-progress work will be presented on Friday (July 12) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at FAR. A panel discussion among DeBruyne and the rest of the members of the creative team from Wevolution Labs is scheduled for 7 p.m. The project is still in a fundraising phase and the team has set up an Indiegogo  campaign. Continue reading “An evolution from humans to birds—a portrait of the artist”

Rollo elected Bloomington city council president, Granger vice president (Bonus: A look at the history of council officers and salary)

At the Bloomington city council’s first meeting of the year on Wednesday, councilmembers organized themselves for the coming 12 months by electing Dave Rollo as president, Dorothy Granger as vice president and Steve Volan as parliamentarian. Continue reading “Rollo elected Bloomington city council president, Granger vice president (Bonus: A look at the history of council officers and salary)”

2019 edition of Bloomington’s city council will be the second-most experienced ever

The nine current members of the Bloomington, Indiana, city council will start 2019 with 95 years of collective experience, which makes it the second-most experienced council ever. It’s seven years fewer than that of the council’s 2017 edition, which was the most experienced one in Bloomington’s history. That’s all based on information provided by the city clerk’s office. Continue reading “2019 edition of Bloomington’s city council will be the second-most experienced ever”