Switchyard Park Master Plan Information

The Switchyard Study Purpose:
The City of Bloomington is working with a multi-disciplinary design team to complete a comprehensive Master Plan for the Switchyard Park property.  With the 2011 completion of the three mile B-Line Trail project through downtown Bloomington and along the western edge of the Switchyard property, the City is turning its attention to the development of a Master Plan to define the vision for the future of the Switchyard Park property.

Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan recently stated “The Switchyard and trail corridor project should serve as a catalyst to a reenergizing of our local economy.” Consequently, the geographic borders of the master plan study area will expand beyond the park property boundaries to include an assessment of economic development impact and opportunities, and recommendations for updates to zoning and land use policies in synergy with development of the Switchyard Park.

The Switchyard Study Area:
The Switchyard Park master plan study area is focused on the south side of Bloomington, Indiana and along the B-Line Corridor.  To learn more about the City of Bloomington, visit their website at http://bloomington.in.gov/

View Switchyard Park, Bloomington, Indiana in a larger map

  • Bev

    Why not feature  a Bloomington  celebration of   this region’s famous  “Limestone Corridor/ Trail” ? In combination  with the B-LineTrail,  they could be promoted in an annual Limestone Sculpting Contest and culminated in an “event” at the Switchyard Park where the contest entries would be located, “experienced”, and the winner announced.

     When Tomi Allison was mayor such a contest was initiated during which Bloomington acquired the loveable dragon that lives at Bryan Park and a Dale Enochs sculpture that resides in Miller-Showers Park  In later contests, two more limestone sculptures (one by Dale Enochs also) joined the acquisitions and reside on the Showers building grounds. A stipulation of the contest could be that entries be “user friendly”, much like the dragon or like the limestone bears at MCPL.  Such  sculptings invite hugs, climbing on, and photos all of which are perfect for a park, specifically the new Switchyard Park.

    An annual limestone sculpting contest could be joined up with the Limestone Symposium in May which draws people from all over the  country for a week to learn sculpting and to tour quarries.  Or, a contest could be paired  wih the annual  Garden Walk in June  to showcase Bloomington in its colorful finery. That,too, could draw more people like the one in Madison, IN, which pairs its spring garden walk with one of historic homes.  Evenually, the   growing number of limestone sculptings in their creative artistry placed all around town  could make Bloomington its own  destination location perhaps similar to that of Kansas City, Kansas, the “City of Fountains”. 

    I do hope these ideas offers some serious food for thought.  As limestone quarry work and the nature of limestone architecture has changed the need for quarrymen and limestone artists has declined , seriously risking the loss of  sculpting skills and techniques to history. Such skills offer artistry at its finest.  And Bloomington is the premier arts district in Indiana. We must save, protect and promote what is  natural and unique to our area yet known to many far from here.  Maybe we need to convert an old quarry into our future “Limestone Park”.  

    • Mike Baise

      I really love Bev’s suggestions about featuring our unique limestone heritage. This space would seem a wonderful opportunity to educate people about the high quality limestone present in Monroe and surrounding counties and to display attractive sculpture created on site. Pairing our limestone heritage with our local world class music talent in an open air venue would be a delight. Columbus is famous for public architecture, Bloomington should be famous for its limestone musical park.

  • Beth

    Our community at large is rich with outdoor activities for the warm months but winter is forgotten.  My family hopes that the switchyard will include an outdoor ice skating area to fill the void.  The idea was lost in the water drainage project at Showers on the north side, lets not lose the opportunity again.  Thank you, Beth Schroeder

  • Sara Gardner

    I’d like to see a dog park/area included.  We’ve got an unofficial one the far north side and an official one on the far west side of town, both of which are not really accessible unless you own a car.

  • Carolyn

    Dog park, please.

  • Jan

    We could really use a dog park on the south side of town.  So many people own dogs in the Bryan Park area.  We tend to let them get a little exercise in the park even though we’re not supposed to because there’s no where else to go.  Karst and Griffey are so far away.

  • Carl

    A GOOD dog park with a decent fence, area for small dogs, and a couple individual runs for the not-so social dogs (every dog deserves some exercise) would be an amazing thing.  Bloomington is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the Mid-west I can’t believe they don’t already have one that’s actually in the city limits.

    I also really like beth’s ice skating idea

  • AL

    A dog park within walking distance to many dog owners would be fantastic!  A vertical stretch of space for skate boarders doing small tricks would be nifty… the skate board park also feels way out.  (Only accessible if driving).  I love the idea of a limestone sculpture garden along the walk… added to with an annual contest.  So many possibilities!  Being able to access restaurants, shops and businesses directly from the trail/park seems advisable. 

  • Ken Pimple

    This would make a great spot for a dog park.

  • ramon

    Having a dog park in Bloomington would be a great idea!

  • Sue Medland

    More food for thought:
      1.  It does seem like a dog park is a good idea.
      2.  I like Mary’s comments about highlighting the history of the limestone industry in this area.   It’s pretty amazing and not much has been done about showcasing it.
      3.  When I was a kid growing up in Logansport, IN, one of the best things about Riverside Park was the merry-go-round.   It featured beautiful carved horses and other animals to ride and the chance to catch the good ring.  All ages rode for a modest ticket fee.  It was a great draw – and still is!     I think a merry-go-round would be a unique and fun addition.
        Thanks, Sue Medland

  • Brownea19

    Having a dog park in town at the switchyard is a fabulous idea!!!  We could walk our dogs there, get on the B-line and get to our next local destination.  Maybe a coffee and pastry at Angel B’s. Sweetgrass restaurant for lunch. With the future “Monon Crossing” being built on Patterson the possibilities are endless!  Most households have a dog as part of their family.  Bloomington has always been about community.  This could be one more reason for people to choose to live here, raise a family, start a business, move an existing business,etc.  Let’s do it!!!

  • Harald Parzer

    given the enormous space the new park will provide it would be nice, if not only the usual lawn space would be provided, but also an area in which local flora and fauna can be observed (e.g. a pond, prairie). Several signs could explain the ecological background of these newly creates spaces – which would not only allow children (schools), but also adults to understand their local environment better. For example, a few years ago a beautiful pond was drained in order to get the trail finished, it would be nice if another one could be established and attract a similar abundance of reptiles and birds as in the previous one. I am sure many people would enjoy that. Or at least support it. Which other city could claim to actively attract beavers and muskrats, red headed woodpeckers and different kind of shorebirds?

  • Ski

    Add a pitch large enough for Rugby and soccer matches.
    After, open green spaces with trees, bushes, and plants, styled after the famous parks of Europe.
    Crushed stone, gravel paths.
    Perhaps a large limestone fountain as a center piece.
    Also, allow a few vendors with outside cafe style seating.
    Perhaps at one end a small bandstand such as the one in Third Street park. It could be situated at the end of the rugby pitch to accomodate lawn seating.
    In other words, please put some style into it.

  • drBOB Appelman

    The Switchyard Area is a rare opportunity to serve the needs of ALL populations within the Bloomington area.  One specific group that usually comes in second is the one that have SPECIAL NEEDS. Those people in wheel chairs, walk on crutches, have vision or hearing and even mental impairments, or simply need to build strength and have fun doing it – especially outdoors. May SENIOR CITIZENS would fit in this area of concern, but it would be a shame to limit it to just that population. I have no idea what such an area would look like or what “equipment” would be required, but I do know that the University Health and Physical Wellness Department would have a wealth of ideas for what to build. It may not be much different from a specialized skate-board area, or it might look like a unique “boot-camp” area. We have all seen the tremendous growth when specialized equipment and spaces are available for famous people such as Gabby Gifford and Christopher Reeves. I have never heard of any city with such an area, and it would round out the Bloomington’s range of people awareness such that it could set the standard nationally for meeting the needs of all populations.

  • Rspaw

    One of my favorites places in the country is the National Mall in D.C., and when I am on the B-Line, I see the possibility of creating something like that in the Switchyard — an open expanse of green space that people can use creatively for recreation — kickball, kite flying, picnicking, flag football, flying disc, whatever.  Put a crushed gravel path around the perimeter for jogging, just like DC. Also run a miminum of electric service to the open field for concert use — just like the Mall.

  • Bart Smith35

    A nice little area for skatebording.  Not a conventional skate park- rather skateable sculptures that are interactive with the other users of the park would be great.  Benches and ledges and small ramps built in an aesthetic way using local limestone mixed with concrete.  

  • KenneyI

    Bikes for tikes maze- I did not have any time to submit my idea, but I think that asphalt paved park for kids with the bike path maze would cover a lot of space and not be too costly, since it would be just trails, perhaps with little “stations”: stop signs, animal crossings, little bridge, something to climb on when you aprk your bike (like a train or tractor). Itwould also be educational about safe biking and road rules. 

  • Alex

    Another place for skateboarders. We only have one place to skateboard at that doesnt get us in trouble. Help skateboarders with a safe place to skateboard at.

  • Alex greemann

     I would love to see an addition of a Skateboarding Park for street skateboarding . 
    It would greatly reduce the amount of damage to local businesses . 
    Give lots of kids a place to go and the northside skatepark is very hard to get to for anyone without a car .
    And there are no decent ledges for street skateboarding, even if just 3 ledges to gring are put in it would be fantastic and attract people from out of town to Bloomington “boosting the local economy”.
    Also there are lots of skilled skatepark builders that reside in Bloomington ,Including Bart Smith 

  • Will Power

    It would be really nice to have another spot for skateboarders. The current park is kind of far out of town for kids without cars and the switchyard would be a good location for some ledges and rails. Also, a legal wall for graffiti art would be great! It would give local artists an opportunity to put up productions without getting into trouble or causing a mess. It would add a little bit of color to the new space!

  • Christy Weezer

    Im glad to see the inclusion of a skatepark in both plans! I thought it was cute that it was called a “skate room” in conceptual design B. 
    A few comments on design- Why not use box cars in the construction of some of the buildings? Box cars are a great building material as highlighted in many issues of Dwell magazine. This would not just evoke the railyard’s  past (like some of the rectangular planters in conceptual design A) but use it in the architecture. 
    Also, I thought the inclusion of all the water elements in design B made the park too segmented. The only entrances are through the water- on bridges and paths- and I think that is a mistake.

  • BloomingSmith

    How about a dog park in that area as well?  I don’t know of any place in downtown where you can take your dogs, let them off their leash to run and socialize w/ other mutts.  You would not need a lot of space and could easily incorporate this along w/ a skate park or any other public use option

  • Tbwoodswalker

    I would love to see a skatepark included in this project!  I am a parent of a skater and have looked at funding opportunities for new skate parks (as I had hoped our community in Nashville, IN would provide one).  There is a LOT of money available to help make this happen.  Please look into these resources and provide a space for skateboarders!  Thank you!

  • stitch

    I am a parent of a skater and a skater myself. I would love to see some bowls and street concrete in the mix!

  • YeahDude!

    I would love to see a new park.The Whole Yeah dude Crew and the Indiana skate scene would appreciate a new skatepark and a Park! Best way to keep kids off the street….Yeah Dude 

  • Laura

    A park that includes things that are skate-enabled and also serve a purpose for non-skaters as well. Such as benches, balance beams, tables, etc. These structures could serve as skate obstacles and use for the general public. The Bloomington skateboarding scene is growing fast and it would benefit many to include some kind of skateboard obstacles.

  • http://beckyrussoniello.posterous.com/ Becky

    The way I see it, the B-Line has three purposes:

    1. To promote / prioritize pedestrian & bike culture over car dependency;
    2. To combine exercise, art, nature, history, and community into one cohesive, beautiful experience;
    3. To stimulate business.

    Many of the ideas in this thread sound awesome.  I think the best are a) showcasing limestone sculptures / events, and b) building a pond / nature preserve.  The ice-skating idea is interesting as well.  It’s true that the B-Line is currently very summer-oriented, and Bloomington is cold for a lot of the year.  In fact, way more people live here when it is cold than during the summer.

    I have to downvote the dog park and skate park ideas though…human runners, pedestrians, and bikers should be prioritized on the B-Line.  It is nerve-wracking and annoying to worry about avoiding skaters and very forward dogs while trying to run or commute.  Especially unleashed dogs might just ruin the B-Line for me.  Also, people with dogs and skateboards are less likely / able to walk into a business and spend money than an unencumbered pedestrian.

    With that being said, perhaps a skate park area could be designed in such a way that it is very separate from the trail itself.

  • Christopher R.

    As a inline skater I would like to see some sort of section in the park with obstacles and rails for blading. I would also like to note that the bumpy sections at every intersection of the trail with the streets are extremely dangerous and should be seen as a liability to the city. I for one already had a pair of skates fall apart as I was skating across one of these and wrecked. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt badly just some scratches and scrapes. I don’t understand what the purpose of a multi-purpose path is if your trying to prevent skateboarders and inline skaters from using it. A multi-purpose path is a place where walkers, runners, bikers, skateboarders and inline skaters should be able to coexist and get their exercise. Putting dangerous bumpy sections at every intersection where skateboarders, inline skaters, and even runners can get injured is ludicrous and poor design.

    • Chad

      Those bumps are for service dogs. They are trained to stop when the feel those bumps under their paws, that way a blind person isn’t led into the road. As a former skater myself, I feel your frustration. But the fact is, people’s safety is more important that our convience.

  • Johncshields

    An area for recreational type games would be cool. Bocce ball courts or a lawn bowling pitch, etc. The type of games where people can just hang out and compete and enjoy each other’s company without needing a huge amount of soace. Another thing that might be cool for kids in the hot summer months would be a splash pad like they have out at Karst. It is an awful long ways away and people wouldn’t have to drive to get to it if one was down there.

  • Kjk2

    ..I think a small shallow lakeish pond with swan a few ducks and canoes would be a great idea..thank you!

  • Ray

    A stage similar to the one located at 3rd St. park, only larger. A flat area in front for lawn chairs and an incline for sitting on a blanket. Like a mini verizon wireless.
    This would be great for Shakespeare in the Park, Pops, Concert in the Park, etc.

  • MP Lynch

    Living in this part of town now, I’d love to see more access points to the B-Line in this part of the trail and hope any park plans will include this. From S Adams, I need to walk along Tapp/Co Club Rd (traffic and exhaust) or walk all the way up to Hillside along Rockport and Rogers (some neighborhood but also heavy traffic and transformer station) to reach the trail.

  • Allison

    Please, no dog park! Let’s spend our money on people!!!

    • btowndoglvr

      seriously? dogs that frequent dog parks are attached to tax paying “people” who consider this an important part of their recreation and socializing.

  • BAIS

    Lets get a skateboarding/inline skating area in there!

  • btowndoglvr

    I strongly support a central dog park in bloomington and the switchyard seems a perfect space.

    I would caution the designers NOT to use grass/dirt (like the Ferguson dog park) it renders the park useless after rain or melting snow (the mud is ridiculous). There are also lots of uneven spots/holes because dogs naturally dig in dirt.

    In my hometown (NYC) there are TONS of dog parks and many use small river rock. it is MUCH CLEANER, practically eliminates mud problems, reduces digging/holes everywhere, doesn’t erode, reduces animal odor, can be easily raked even, and allows any leftover waste/dirt to be washed away under the stone. I’m also an advocate of separate spaces for small and large breeds!