Bloomington Looking at Old Packing Plant to Solve Parking Problems

Published 08/07 2014 09:58PM

Updated 08/07 2014 10:22PM

BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington's public library is seeing a spike in patrons. More visitors are a good thing, but it's creating a problem for the city.

The Bloomington Library is a favorite for Katrina Eames and her family, but the planning just to get there isn't.

"We would have to get here a half hour early, just so we could find a parking spot,” said Eames.

With lots of children's activities inside, it's not always easy to find a place to park outside.

"We'll either have to circle around for a few minutes and hope to find a spot or find a side street and cross. And sometimes, there can be a lot of traffic,” said Eames.

Library director Georgia Bouda says the library's growing popularity now brings in about 35,000 visitors each month.

"When we have a big program, we simply don't have enough parking. But that's common to the entire city. The police need parking, DPW needs parking, city hall needs parking,” said Bouda.

Between 200 and 400 people can come for special programs. So the need is only getting bigger.

“We worry that if they don't find a close proximity parking place that they won't come. You know, they just keep going,” said Bouda.

On Monday, city council is expected to vote to purchase the old Sugar Creek Packing Plant for $250,000.

If it passes, demolishing that building would open up 115 new spaces for the library and public works.

"We believe it's not only a good value, good price for the city, but it's going to allow many advantages for the city now and into the future,” said city manager David Hales.

And the dilapidated property could become the hub of an even bigger plan for Bloomington. Those are plans that could include expansion of the library or the creation of a children’s library nearby.

"And as we look at future development of that area, the acquisition of this property is critical,” said Hales.

If the city purchases the property, Hales says the city would begin to look at some low-cost options for demolishing it. He says, if all goes well, some of the work could be done by the fall.

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