Library board votes to spend more, cut less forest for new branch

The animated image alternates between options for the new library branch with (1) a single wing of surface parking to the west and a parking garage under the building and (2) two wings of surface parking, one to the west and one to the east. Drawings, which were included in the library board’s meeting information packet, are by Matheu Architects.

On Tuesday night, the board of the Monroe County Public Library voted unanimously in favor of a design for its planned new branch that incorporates a parking garage under the 21,000 square-foot building, instead of relying on a second wing of surface lot parking.

The branch will include a total of about 105 parking spaces.

The option with the parking garage means a smaller footprint for the new construction. Architect Christine Matheu’s drawings show it wedged into the southwest corner of the forested site near Batchelor Middle School just southwest of Bloomington.

The garage option means that fewer trees in the forested area will need to be cut down to allow the new library branch to be built. The area was planted with tree seedlings by school kids over the first decade of the millennium.

It was one of the factors that led board members to support spending about $900,000 more—$12.1 million compared to $11.2 million—for the design with a parking garage. Continue reading “Library board votes to spend more, cut less forest for new branch”

Bloomington research notes: Sleuthing parking meters with microfilm and the movies

In two weeks, the parking meter turns 84 years old. The first one was installed in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935.

Cool Hand Luke Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 10.27.45 AM
From the opening sequence of the film, “Cool Hand Luke,” where the title character lops off the heads of several parking meters.

Three decades later, the same invention that discourages motorists from making greedy use of public space made possible the release of “Cool Hand Luke.” The film starred Paul Newman as the title character, who was sentenced to two years in prison—for lopping the heads off some parking meters.

Parking meters will be recognized as a different kind of cinematic highlight by aficionados of the movie “Breaking Away,” which was shot right here in Bloomington, Indiana. Continue reading “Bloomington research notes: Sleuthing parking meters with microfilm and the movies”

Monroe County Public Library a source of map collections showing Bloomington’s past annexations

In 2017, Bloomington began the process of annexing area into the city that would have increased the land area of the city by about 60 percent.

HistoryofAnnexations1997-2004

Later that year, the state’s General Assembly built into the budget bill a change to annexation law that effectively singled out Bloomington and paused any annexation plans for five years.

Bloomington filed a lawsuit, contending that the General Assembly violated two different parts of the state’s constitution: One limiting bills to single topics and another prohibiting special legislation.

On Tuesday, March 26, the two sides will be giving oral arguments in front of Judge Frank M. Nardi to complement the written arguments and counterarguments they’ve already submitted to the court. Continue reading “Monroe County Public Library a source of map collections showing Bloomington’s past annexations”