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Amanda J. Billings
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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

Ivy Tech wins reuse award for restoration of the Depot

HT Report | March 16, 2009

Ivy Tech Community College has won the 2009 Downtown Bloomington Inc. Adaptive Reuse Award for its transformation of the restored Illinois Central Freight Station, or the Depot.

The award was presented at Downtown Bloomington’s annual meeting Thursday at the Bloomington convention center.

Chancellor John Whikehart said that part of Ivy Tech’s success at the Depot can be credited to its prime location. “Each semester, the Center for Lifelong Learning at the Depot attracts hundreds of learners to the downtown area,” he said in an Ivy Tech news release. The restored depot adds to the vibrancy of downtown, he added.

Ivy Tech’s Depot houses the college’s Center for Lifelong Learning, including its workforce training offices. The center opened in fall of 2007 and is a space for noncredit courses, workforce training, nonprofit groups, and meeting and industry training.

Downtown Bloomington honors locals at meeting

March 16, 2009

Downtown by the numbers
• 47 new businesses
• 22 businesses closed or moved out of downtown
• 12 businesses moved to another location and expanded downtown
• 2 new buildings
• 4 facade renovations
• 4 building renovations
Source: Downtown Bloomington Inc.

Downtown Bloomington Inc. recently hosted its annual meeting and gave awards to local citizens and organizations. The nonprofit, formed in 1984 to revitalize the downtown, is a certified program of the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more, visit

Awards given include:

Downtown Business of the Year: Wandering Turtle Art Gallery and Gifts, 116 W. Sixth St. DBI called owner Jaime Sweeney “a true inspirational leader in her words and actions.”

Special Achievement Award: Joyce Poling. DBI said the award goes to former county commissioner Poling for her many years of service to the downtown organization.

New Development Award: Midtown Lofts, 345 South College Avenue. DBI said Mike and Joan Snapp redeveloped the property formerly known as Piggy’s with a new, brick and limestone building consisting of 24 luxury apartments and an on-site enclosed parking garage.

Best Merchandising: O’Child Children’s Boutique, Fountain Square Mall. DBI said owner Nancy Bradley “truly makes her children’s clothes come alive with her creative and ever-changing displays.”

Promotion of the Year: Community Kitchen of Monroe County for Chef’s Challenge. DBI said the second annual Chef’s Challenge that pitted three Bloomington chefs against one another showcased some of the best local culinary talent and generated immense interest both in Bloomington’s restaurants and Community Kitchen. More than 300 people attended, and the money raised was used to help feed the hungry in the community.

Financing and Project Development: First Capital Group. DBI said the company manages over 1 million square feet of space used for a variety of uses such as life sciences, institutional, and technology.

Public Improvement: Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District. DBI said the BEAD is fulfilling its mission is “to bring commerce and art together” in the downtown.

Customer Service: Sullivan’s Fashions: 115 N. Washington St. Owner Bob Sullivan Jr. “always welcomes customers with a smile and special attention, and is knowledgeable in style and comfort,” DBI said. The store is a downtown tradition, and has been located on Washington Street for 85 years.

Volunteer of the Year Award: The Perry Family. DBI said the Perry family has been involved as troop leaders for son Geoffrey’s Boy Scout troop and daughter Kate’s Girl Scout troop for more than 10 years.

Adaptive Reuse

1926 Mitchell Building at 426 S. Walnut St. DBI said owners Trent and Carrie Jones met and fell in love while renovating the Mitchell Brothers building on South Walnut Street. The two transformed the building into an art gallery that is home to Spectrum Studio 406 and Kendall Reeves, as well as six apartments.

Black’s Mercantile at 221 N. Walnut St. DBI said shop owners Mike Black and Kristina Armour fill a valuable need for downtown residents and workers, offering a one-stop solution for most home and office needs. The two have also expanded the Video Saloon space to create a performing art venue and bar on the main floor.

Pictura Gallery, 122 W. Sixth St. DBI said owners David and Martha Moore, used beautiful copper colors, custom maple counters and trim, exposed brick, and local art.

Ivy Tech at the Depot for its transformation of the restored Illinois Central Freight Station, or the Depot. DBI said the Center for Lifelong Learning, which opened in 2007, has transformed the building into a “center of enlightenment and opportunity.”

Historic Preservation

Showers Inn Bed and Breakfast, 430 N. Washington St. DBI said owners Dan and Clara Fierst purchased the Mitchell House two years ago and have restored it as the Showers Inn Bed and Breakfast. The house was originally built by the Showers family, owners of the Showers Furniture Factory.

Trinity Episcopal Church, 400 E. Kirkwood Ave. DBI lauded the church’s congregation for a seamless expansion and renovation of their facilities. The goal of the project was twofold — to make the church accessible with new restrooms and ramps and to modernize and update it by adding new energy efficiency features, a new kitchen and the new room that leads to the garden.