Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Guest Speaker Ann Kreilkamp about Green Acres Community Gardens @ our next meeting!

Ann Kreilkamp from the Green Acres Neighborhood Community Garden (GANG) will be the guest speaker at our Dec. 3 neighborhood meeting.  She will be reporting (with pictures!) on the process that Green Acres has gone through to establish and maintain this garden, including the relationship that has unfolded with the city's planning department.  Many Green Acres neighbors have consistently come together to make this garden a great success, and have even held a series of permaculture workshops to increase their knowledge & enhance the community aspect of the garden. 

Check out their blog to learn more about the work they are doing:

Many neighbors in McDoel Gardens have expressed interest in the possibility of creating a community space of some sort in our own neighborhood (garden, compost, park, or otherwise).  This presentation will be a good opportunity to hear about and consider the realities of executing & maintaining such a project.  We hope to see you all there:

Thursday, December 3 @ 6:30 in the basement of the McDoel Baptist Church on the corner of Rogers & Allen

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Block Party!

Mark your calendar for the annual Halloween Block Party on Friday, October 30, from 3-11ish, on Madison Street (between Dodds and 907 S. Madison).

There will be fun activities for both kids & grown-ups.

It's a potluck, so feel free to bring a dish....
& it's a Halloween party, so wear a costume..... 

(Don't like cooking, don't have a costume?  Please come & hang out anyway!) 

dog picture from

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bringing Out the Character of Our Neighborhood as a Permanent Culture

Please join us at our next neighborhood meeting, on Thursday  November 5 at 6:30 at the McDoel Gardens Baptist Church.  We will have a special guest, Rhonda Baird, who will address 
how we, as a neighborhood, can draw out a permanent sense of place and enhance it with things that really work for individuals -- like edible landscaping and home retrofits, but also communal centers for exchanging information/food/celebration/games, etc.  She will also talk about resources and also how individuals can build resilient, sustainable homes that contribute to that neighborhood health we all want when we are invested in a place. 

We will have the opportunity to brainstorm our own ideas for enhancing our community.  Some neighbors have discussed the possibility of a community garden (we are McDoel Gardens, after all), and one of our next guest speakers will be from the Green Acres Neighborhood Garden.

Bring your ideas, along with your friends & neighbors to the meeting.  We want to hear what you want to learn about in the upcoming workshops.  From your input we will schedule the next speakers.

Rhonda Baird is a permaculture designer and teacher.  She will be helping to teach a full permaculture design course over five weekends this fall and winter (beginning October 15-17).  Contact Rhonda for more info:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Home For Sale/ Open House--more dates

Open House at 1409 S Rogers Street, Sunday, November 1st & Sunday November 8th, from 2-4 pm.

This house was the home of Eathel Elkins, a longtime McDoel resident.  Eathel lived in the house for more than 55 years and lived well beyond her 100th birthday.  Eathel was originally from Elkinsville, which was one of the towns flooded to create Lake Monroe.

The house has been lovingly restored by Bloomington Restorations, Inc. with a new kitchen and bath and new appliances.  Stop by the Open house for information, punch and cookies.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Living With Urban Wildlife Seminars

The Indiana DNR Urban Wildlife Project will host 3 seminars on Living With Urban Wildlife.  The free seminars will cover vairous aspects of wildlife management, including relevant laws, basic biology and methods to control wildlife damage.  All seminars run 6-8 p.m.  The first seminar will be Oct. 8 at the Monoe County Library auditorium, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave., in Bloomington.  No registration is required.  Call 812-334-1137 or email

(copied from the H-T Outdoor Calendar)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kroger Reno & New Proposed Construction: 10/5/09 Plan Meeting

The Seminary Square Kroger is going to be remodeled and updated.  This means Kroger will remain in its current location.  Kroger will most likely add gas pumps, which will greatly change the flow of traffic in that area.  The upcoming changes will be discussed at the next City of Bloomington Plan Commission Meeting, on October 5. 

Another PC meeting topic relevant to McDoel Gardens is the Bryan White project proposed for 223 W. Dodds St.  It would involve a rezoning of 1.6 acres from commercial limited to a PUD, where the developers would build up to 20 single-family homes.  This has been discussed on the blog in previous entries.  For the report from the last Plan Commission meeting regarding the development, go to:
Look in the right hand task bar, under 'Attachments,'  & click on  '8-31-2009.'  Your plan commissioners will vote on this project at the October 5 meeting, so make your opinion heard.  Currently Jack Baker and Isabel Piedmont-Smith sit on the commission, are your neighbors, and want to know what you think.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tenth Street Mobility Study Workshops

From City of Bloomington HAND (Housing and Neighborhood Development)

This message is to inform you that there will be two public workshops to discuss the 10th Street Mobility Study (also referred to as the North Campus Area Study):
  • Thursday September 10, 2009 from 11:30am-1:30pm in the auditorium of the Monroe County Public Library (303 E. Kirkwood Ave.);
    • Getting there by bus:  Bloomington Transit routes 1, 3, 4, or 5
    • Parking:  parking is available at the library or the adjacent streets
  • Thursday September 10, 2009 from 5:00pm-7:00pm in Room CG2061 of the Kelley School of Business Graduate and Executive Education Center (NW corner of N. Fee Ln. and E. 10th St).  Room CG2061 is on the second floor in the NW corner of the building.
    • Getting there by bus:  Bloomington Transit routes 1, 6, or 9; IU Campus Bus routes A, B, D, or E
    • Parking:  paid parking is available in the Fee Lane Parking garage (attached to the northern side of the Kelley School of Business)
The information presented at both workshops is intended to be identical.  The anticipated format of the workshop will be a brief open house, followed by a presentation, and then group discussions about the study area.
Stay Connected
You can get information about the 10th Street Mobility Study online:

The Hand Update (Housing and Neighborhood Development)

NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT GRANTS (link to website)  Meeting tonight!
These grants provide funds for neighborhood physical improvement projects that require $2,000 or more – click here to see neighborhood projects.
§         Neighborhood Signs
§         Restoration of brick and WPA sidewalks
§         Landscaping, benches and trash receptacles on public right of way
§         Historical markers
Overview and Distribution of Applications: Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 6:00 p.m. John Hooker Room
Letter of Intent: Friday, Sept.25, 2009, by 4:00 pm.
Applications Due: Friday, November 6, 2009, by 4 pm.
For more information about this program, contact Vickie Provine at or 349-3505

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wylie Woodchuck

We have a neighborhood woodchuck (groundhog) living near the 600 block of West Wylie Street.  Thanks, Glee, for the photo!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Neighborhood Meeting Sept. 10

Please join your neighbors at the McDoel Baptist Church (basement) at 6:30 on Thursday, September 10.   The church is at 1006 South Rogers Street.

Summary of Plan Commission with Comments from Jack Baker

     Brian White is proposing a 19 lot subdivision on the lot at Morton and Dodds. The first hearing with Bloomington City Plan Commission was on Monday Aug 31. A second hearing and most likely a vote accepting or denying the project will be held on October 5th
     Plan Commissioners heard from Mr. White and his local engineer. He wants to build 19 homes using several traditional designs including Queen Anne and Craftsman and place them on narrow lots, with all homes a short distance from, and facing, the phase II B-line trail. The homes would range in cost from about $170000 to $300000 and approximately 40% would be eligible for an affordable housing program that reduces the cost to a home buyer depending upon their income and family size.  
     Commissioners questioned all aspects of the project including density (number of homes), house spacing, materials and design, driveways, tree preservation and new tree plantings, and the extent of passive solar and the ‘green’ details. The Public questioned density and spacing of the homes, timing of the project, and tree preservation. The Planning staff questioned some of Mr. White’s project details including roof pitch, porch depth and building set-backs.
     My reading of the public commentary at the PC meeting and consensus at our last neighborhood meeting is most of the neighborhood is in favor of the project, with a few persons still concerned about the number of homes proposed for the property size. My reading of the Plan Commission is that it is also favorable to the project although there is some concern about the quality and density of the homes.
     While I too would rather see fewer homes on larger lots I believe it is not an option in this project – the developer considers it uneconomic to reduce the number of homes. But, if we can be assured the homes will be built with high aesthetic and material qualities I think the worry about density and closeness will be offset. As usual the recipe for a successful project is in the details. The Plan Commission staff noted all of our criticism at the Aug 31 meeting and is working with the developer to improve the proposal. For example we have asked that vinyl siding not be allowed as a building material (poor quality, lack of color range and paint holding), metal roofs be of a specific type, and roof pitch must be steeper. We are working on a commitment that the styles built will be true to the originals. 
This is the first project along the B-line trail and we need it to be a good one.

Planned Construction Goes to Second Commission Meeting

The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed housing project (along Dodds & the B-line) that could have impact on McDoel Gardens neighborhood at their meeting on August 31.  The developers had hoped to bypass the need for a second hearing in order to begin construction this season.  As many details were not agreed upon, and several neighbors voiced concerns, the Commission voted to go to a second hearing.

You can still catch the broadcast of the Aug. 31 meeting on CATS local channel 12.  Click here for this week's schedule.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bloomington Hospital Survey

Bloomington Hospital is considering whether to relocate to a site at the corner of Curry Pike and State Road 46 on the west side of Bloomington. The Council of Neighborhood Associations of Monroe County would like to gauge community knowledge and interest in attending an informational meeting and discussion with hospital and community leaders.

Click to take the survey.

New Construction Project Goes to Plan Commission August 31

At our neighborhood meeting on August 13, developer Brian White presented information about a planned construction project that he hopes will go in south of Dodds Street along the future B-Line trail. The project would consist of many narrow homes ranging in size from 25' wide by 25' - 75' long. There will be a 5' space between the homes. The fronts would face the future B-line trail, and driveway access would be from the rear, via the paved area along the existing storage units.

The developers plan to use many eco-friendly building techniques and products, although some will be optional. Aesthetically, the homes will have varying traditional styles, as to reflect the surrounding neighborhood character. Also, 40-50% of the homes will be subsidized, allowing a greater range in affordability.

The project goes to the City of Bloomington Plan Commission on August 31, 2009, at 5:30 in Common Council Chambers in City Hall. The project will next have to go to City Council, likely in October. Attend and make your voice heard.

Location of the Neighborhood

The boundaries of McDoel Gardens neighborhood are defined as:

On the north:
First Street

On the south:
The Indiana Railroad Line tracks immediately south of Hillside Drive

On the east:
CSX Railroad tracks and Morton Street

On the west:
Patterson Drive, excluding Maple Court; and Rogers Street between Patterson Drive and the south boundary

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adopt-A-River Program

A branch of Clear Creek runs alongside and through McDoel Gardens, though until recently it looked more like a drainage ditch than a real creek. The reason for its transformation? McDoel resident Paul Ash spearheaded a plan to have the neighborhood "adopt" the creek through a program run by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Under the program, the section of the creek in McDoel is cleaned up twice a year. McDoel was the first neighborhood association to adopt a river or creek under the DNR's program.

The first several cleanups have been highly productive, with items such as grocery carts and car parts fished out by stoic volunteers. The creek has been so persistantly used as a dumping grounds over the years that clean-ups are still producing a large quantity of debris.

The winter creek clean-up has been aided by City of Bloomington's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day project grants, which have been used to provide gloves and bags and other supplies, and allowed use of dumpsters set up to receive the "loot."

The youth group at McDoel Baptist Church has generously contributed their labor and cheerful attitudes to the clean-ups, as well, another way in which the church stands out as a very good neighbor.

These photos show neighborhood and church volunteers braving January cold to clean up the creek on Martin Luther King Day.

Grant Projects

The neighborhood associations applied for its first grant from the City of Bloomington's Neighborhood Assistance Grant program in 1999. This program, administered by the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department, provides funding for neighborhood projects.

The 1999 grant application was for purchase and installation of thirteen limestone planters, to be installed along South Rogers between First Street and the railroad tracks south of the old RCA building. The grant was awarded, and the neighborhood now has the planters in place, tended by neighborhood volunteers. The northern and southern most planters are inscribed with the words "Welcome to McDoel Gardens."

Another aspect of the 1999 grant was the creation of a historical marker for the neighborhood, to be placed in the small traffic triangle at the corner of Madison and Patterson, and two limestone benches. The traffic triangle was created during the expansion of Patterson Drive through our neighborhood, and was finished and landscaped in April and May 2001. The historical marker and accompanying limestone bench were installed in July of 2001, with due ceremony. The second bench is located next to one of the planters on the Raintree Muffler property at Rogers and Patterson.

A current grant project is underway to steel-cut benches to provide seating at a bus stop on South Rogers. Summer 2003 is the target date for installation.


The McDoel Gardens Neighborhood Association meets the second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the basement of the McDoel Baptist Church. The church is located on Rogers Street, between Dixie and Allen; enter the basement from the alley behind the church.