Aldermen To Review Downtown Signs, Miller Park Zoo Projects | WGLT

Aldermen To Review Downtown Signs, Miller Park Zoo Projects

Dec 18, 2017

Aldermen will vote Monday on a final design for downtown Bloomington’s new wayfinding signs, as well as a new concession area and more parking for Miller Park Zoo.

The Bloomington City Council will tackle its busy agenda at 7 p.m. Monday, after a 5 p.m. special session devoted to a proposed Welcoming City immigration ordinance and Downtown Task Force recommendations. All meetings will take place at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. 

The design for downtown Bloomington’s wayfinding signs and overall branding has a historical look with a teal background color. It was chosen from three options that the public provided feedback on. 

The new design was created by Kerestes Martin Associates Inc., based in Pittsburgh, with guidance from the Downtown Signage Committee. It came in response to the cool reception that the Bloomington City Council gave a previous design concept, dubbed “Dream Big,” back in September. 

“The unified appearance of the recommended signs remind patrons that they have arrived at Bloomington’s historic, safe, and friendly downtown destination,” city staff wrote to aldermen. 

This year’s city budget includes $250,000 to begin installation of the signs. Construction could begin in May 2018, according to a timeline being reviewed by aldermen Monday night. 

Miller Park Zoo Improvements 

Meanwhile, Bloomington aldermen will also vote on a proposal for Miller Park Zoo to borrow $900,000 to pay for a new concession stand, more parking, and a new roof for its entrance building. 

In a memo to aldermen, city staff say that the “top two complaints we get from customers (at the zoo) is not having food service and lack of adequate parking.” 

The city expects to bring in a minimum of $147,000 in new revenue each year (and a total annual profit of $85,112) by adding a concession stand. 

Monday’s vote will also be the first step toward creating 50 new parking spaces at the zoo, a 55 percent increase. Both projects are among the first infrastructure projects prioritized in the zoo’s 2012 master plan; another related project, the Greater Flamingo Exhibit, helped raise attendance by 8 percent. 

The projects are not part of this year’s city budget. Instead, the zoo will borrow the money from the Parkland Dedication Fee Fund, with the remainder borrowed from the city’s general fund or a financial institution. The zoo’s current and future revenues will repay the borrowed funds. 

Construction would begin in summer 2018.

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