Bloomington is still reserving the right to appeal its unsuccessful eminent domain action to acquire additional land to replace the 352-space parking garage that stood downtown at the corner of 4th and Walnut streets.
Christmas morning dawned bright over the now empty lot at 4th and Walnut streets where a parking garage once stood. It offered 352 spaces for people to park their cars, then go to work, shop, or take care of errands in the downtown area.
The demolition started in earnest in late September and was done by early November.
After last Friday’s court ruling, the now smoothed-over dirt lot will probably remain empty for at least a few more months.
On Friday, Aug. 16, the landowner filed an amended version of objections with the Monroe Circuit Court, in an attempt to prevent the City of Bloomington from acquiring the 222 Hats property at the south end of the block of Walnut Street between 4th and 3rd streets.
The City of Bloomington wants to take the property through an eminent domain process so that it can extend the footprint of its planned replacement parking structure to cover the full length of the block from 4th to 3rd streets.
A month earlier, an initial version of the objections was filed, because it was not clear at the time if the court was going to grant a motion for an extension of the deadline. The court did grant the extension.
A review by The Beacon of both documents revealed a few differences between the first and second versions. A new paragraph was added on the topic of the definition of “public use.” The concept of “public use” is key, because property taken through eminent domain is supposed to be for a public use. The first objection filed by the landowner argues that the taking would not be for a public use, because of the ground floor retail space that is planned for the replacement parking garage.
Another amendment to the document was stylistic—one sentence was edited to conform with Mark Twain’s legendary advice, “If you see an adverb, kill it.”
Some important pieces of a downtown development puzzle were slotted into place this week, as the City of Bloomington and Monroe County both made progress on separate real estate deals.
The transactions are expected to factor into a planned expansion of the county’s convention center, located at 3rd Street and College Avenue. Neither deal decides the direction of the expansion—at this point only westward appears to have been ruled out. The city wants to expand north. The county is not committed to that direction.
At the Monroe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday morning, the three-member board approved a $500,000 deal to purchase a couple of parcels making up the parking lot of the NAPA Auto Parts store at Walnut and 3rd streets.