The City of Bloomington owns 2,275 acres of parkland; a majority of residents live less than 10 minutes from a park. Additionally, projects like the B-Line Trail have connected residents to greenspace and helped make Bloomington a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly city. Located near Indiana University, Peoples Park is one of the City’s most visible parks. When the Safety, Civility, and Justice Task Force was formed in 2016, one of its priorities was to address the issue of aggressive panhandling and public safety concerns that occurred in the vicinity of this park.
2017 summer Peoples Park Expanded Programming Attendance
On June 8, 2017, the Bloomington Police Department held an outdoor roll call and subsequently began increased foot patrols on Kirkwood Avenue. After four weeks of patrols, visibility of homelessness within the area decreased. Additionally, BPD arrested a heroin dealer who had been selling drugs at a nearby encampment. In response to these developments the Bloomington Parks Department requested that individuals wishing to provide food, clothing, or other material assistance to homeless individuals do so via a social service provider rather than directly to the individuals.
Shortly after the patrols began, the Parks and Recreation Department increased programming in Peoples Park, scheduling at least one event each day. From August 2nd to September 24th, Park programs attracted hundreds of residents.
Park Bans and Park Ambassador Volunteer Hours by Year
Peoples Park is more publicly visible than Seminary Square Park, but the data indicates that Seminary Square has significantly more bans. Neither Peoples Park nor Seminary Square has a dedicated Park Ambassador, but nearby parks like Bryan and Building and Trades have active ambassadors monitoring the area that alert personnel to maintenance needs, landscaping problems, and negative activities.
Seminary Square Park is bordered on three sides by roads. This reduces the number of pedestrians who walk through the park. Furthermore, it is near Shalom Community Center and Kroger, making it centrally located to services that individuals experiencing homelessness might require.