Three ordinances approved, schedule set to hear city’s transportation plan

The Bloomington City Council unanimously approved ordinances to establish two historical districts and renew a program to support economic development Wednesday. The council also set a schedule to review the city’s new transportation plan.

Maple Heights established as conservation district

The Maple Heights neighborhood was approved by the council to become a conservation district Wednesday night. Maple Heights is bordered by College Avenue, 17th, 11th and Maple streets. In a conservation district, any new construction, demolition or structural movement must be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission.

The neighborhood will become a full historical district after three years unless a majority of property owners object. When a neighborhood becomes a full historical district, in addition to conservation district rules, any changes to architectural elements or materials of the building must be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Residents of Maple Heights came to speak at city council for the second week in a row to support the change.

“It’s very satisfying having neighborhood residents come to advocate the protection of their neighborhood,” Councilmember Dave Rollo said. “I was touched.”

Harvey-Nelson House established as historical district

The Harvey-Nelson House at 1175 S. Smith Road was unanimously approved to be a historical district. The property, which includes a late 1800s farm house, was purchased in 1936 by Alice and Ralph Nelson. Alice Nelson was the director of halls and residence at IU when Herman B Wells was president. She established the first residence hall libraries at IU as well as overseeing some residence hall construction in the ‘50s.

James and Sally Harvey have owned the property for 40 years and sought to save it from development by making it a historical district. Much of the property’s surrounding land has been turned into subdivisions, James Harvey said.

Five-year extension of Bloomington Urban Enterprise Zone term approved

The council’s decision to approve the five-year extension of the program was the fifth renewal of the Urban Enterprise Zone in Bloomington. A program created by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in 1983, the Zone promotes economic development in underdeveloped areas.

The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Zone program offers tax deductions and other financial benefits to businesses and employees who live and work in the Zone. The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association, the group that manages the program, also gives scholarships and grants to residents and organizations in Bloomington.

The council unanimously approved the five-year extension of the program.

City transportation plan introduced

The city’s transportation plan outlines specific projects that will focus on improving transportation infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The plan will potentially be an amendment to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. It took over a year to develop the plan with help from a consulting firm. The council approved the schedule for reviewing the plan, which will take place over the next three weeks.

The introduction to the plan and the state of transportation in Bloomington will be reviewed and discussed at the Jan. 23 city council meeting. On Jan. 30, the council will look at street networks and classifications. Recommended projects, next steps for key recommendations and the conclusion of the plan will be reviewed and discussed at the Feb. 6 meeting.

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