To manifest a project of this scale will take a small army of steadfast volunteers, local growers and business people. And to realize it will require an alliance of organizations and local government joining forces. This will require real funding. Probably millions. But....funding for projects like this is available if we can offer real numbers about benefits to the community. Please see some similar projects at Dunhill Ecopark and the Intervale Center in Burlington VT for comparison. You are invited to a conversation for possibilities and action August 11, 5421 E Kings Rd.
Thompson/ Bloomington Eco-Park - An 80 Acre property on S. Rogers North of Thompson Park (see map) owned by the county but in the city limits of Bloomington.
Originally planned for a youth prison, it's now being revisioned for a multi-use facility which could include
A larger group of participators / investors / designers / entrepreneurs / designers will create a lot more excitement about the prospects for this site. The adjacent Thompson Park could become a valuable partner for hosting events to further the evolution and social potential of both landscapes.
This kind of land-use planning is clearly becoming an emerging trend arising as a community response to the economic, social, environmental and energy challenges being faced by cultures all over the planet. Bloomington is in a unique position to model a coherent vision for a relocalizing economic and social transformation to a stable and resilient community, able and ready to face the future while serving as an example to communities throughout the Midwest and beyond.
Other models for this kind of project, some well-advanced, some in planning, are the Intervale Center in Burlington VT (5 stars!), theWestern North Carolina Farmers Market in Asheville (4 stars), the Myrick Hixon EcoPark in Lacrosse, WI., the Transition Putney – Green Village Eco-Park, England (.pdf) , the Downtown Houston Eco-Centric Park, the Dunhill Ecopark (England) (a very impressive mixed-use enterprise with a broad forward-looking social and economic vision - 5 stars!), Agricultural Eco-Industrial Parks in China, and an Eco-Industrial/ Agricultural Park in Crestone Colorado.
This project would strengthen Bloomington's community food systems while preserving a great agricultural resource. By working with farmers to increase market access and viability, and promoting land use that protects our water quality the programs and services provided will build a regenerative, relocalized and independent food system that employs the people of Bloomington and adds value to local food and local landscapes.
Prospective partners for this project: Local Growers Guild, Bloomingfoods, Sycamore Land Trust, Center for Sustainable Living, Bloomington City Council, Monroe County Commissioners, Sycamore Land Trust, and others.