Dale Conard is no stranger to working on his family's farm, but Tuesday's first public discussion of how to redevelop the land that most recently housed Bloomington's east side Kmart was a far cry from reaping hay or driving livestock.
Conard, who is a son of the eponymous Mary Agnes Latimer, manages the former 12 acres of Latimer farmland at 3216 E. Third St. through Latimer Farm Real Estate LLC. Conard's not forgotten the time he clipped a silo on the property with the family tractor, but the land has since become a sea of concrete with vacant retail space at the center.
To renew the Latimer legacy, Conard has partnered with Lafayette-based Trinitas Ventures and the public to re-imagine the property as The District at Latimer Square
"When you spend all the years that I did out there, the land becomes like a son or daughter," Conard said. "It's beyond my ability to imagine where we're going, but I think we've got a team that's not going to let an eyesore happen."
Around 50 members of the public told a team of architects, master planners and developers during Tuesday's interactive work session what they'd like to see included in the redevelopment. They sketched space for Bloomingfoods, mapped out public plazas and drew arrows to the sort of boutique movie theaters or senior living spaces they hope to see included in the developer's final plans.
Attendees wrote their wishes on sticky notes before pressing them to an idea board, their visions ranging from festival and performing art spaces, to a child care center, to a plaza for farmers' markets, to housing with porches, to water features and more.
"I just want it to be neat, clean and useful," Conard said. "I'm sure it's going to be something everybody in the community will be proud of."