A crowd of interested citizens and curious passers-by gathered Friday afternoon to hear Mayor John Hamilton introduce Bloomington’s new Trades District.
“This is a thrilling time for the city as we welcome 21st century jobs and people,” Hamilton said. “This is a giant leap for Bloomington."
The new Trades District is a section of downtown Bloomington with many high-tech businesses and a park. Activities included tours of the facilities, lunch from local food trucks and activity stations from the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology.
“I was excited to come down and get a closer look to understand what it was all about,” IU graduate student Sara Conrad said.
The district is the most environmentally-friendly urban infrastructure project in Bloomington, Hamilton said, citing the pedestrian and bike-friendly roads, electric car charging stations and the 10,000 plants placed in the area.
Conrad said the district is perfect for the young people of Bloomington and students who want to work in a space away from campus.
“The way millenials are working is perfect for this space,” Conrad said. “People who have that entrepreneurial drive will flourish here.”
The Trades District is part of a larger Technology Park, a state-designated area to grow technology innovation. The park is a partnership between Bloomington and IU.
The development of this area was meant for wage growth and to stimulate job growth in different sectors, said Alex Crowley, director of Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development.
“Historically it’s been very traditional manufacturing employment base,” Crowley said. “We’re pivoting as a city into the new economy, and this is meant to stimulate that.”
The plan is to market the area and gain private investment in the undeveloped sections, Crowley said. The city is hoping to attract jobs such as programming, advanced manufacturing and biotechnology.
Crowley said the city is hoping to expand job opportunities for local residents and graduating IU students.
The city is aiming to attract new investors to the area by marketing the existing buildings that are for sale and developing the empty fields.
“This doesn’t happen overnight,” Crowley said. “But our plan and hope is that we will attract and facilitate development.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article had a out-of-date caption that stated the Dimension Mill had not yet opened. The Dimension Mill officially opened on Oct. 31, 2018. The IDS regrets this error.
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