In September, the City of Bloomington and Dimension Mill, Inc. launched a public contest to name the new street, in which more than 1000 people participated. From several hundred public submissions, four finalists were announced at the launch party for The Mill in November. In an online poll, voters chose “Maker”—which had been submitted by multiple individuals—as the winning moniker. “Maker Way” will be submitted to the Board of Public Works and Common Council as the official name for the new street in the Trades District, the core of Bloomington’s Certified Technology Park.
“The Trades District is poised to foster the innovative, collaborative, proactive and prosocial culture that will transform ideas into better outcomes in the 21st century,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “ ‘Maker Way’ captures that Bloomington spirit.”
The street’s designation marks the completion of the City’s renovation of the historic building that will serve as the anchor of the Trades District. Located at 642 North Madison Street in part of the former Showers Brothers Furniture Company factory complex—Bloomington’s industrial driver in the early 20th century—The Mill has undergone adaptive reuse as a center for the city’s economic reinvention. Serving joint functions as a coworking space, business incubator and community innovation and networking hub, The Mill is operated by the nonprofit Dimension Mill, Inc. Along with the companies in development at The Mill, Tasus/Tsuchiya and PedCor are among the national corporations locating facilities within the Trades District.
Harkening back to the site’s longtime manufacturing history, and in kinship with the inventiveness of the maker movement—described in Wired magazine as “the world of do-it-yourself gone digital”—the name “Maker Way” is a tribute to Bloomington’s creative, can-do culture. The Mill has adapted the street’s name as a rallying cry for local entrepreneurs forging new paths with the social media tag #MakeOurWay.
“We’re thrilled with the new street name,” said Pat East, executive director of The Mill. “ ‘Maker Way’ is a perfect illustration of the passion that motivates our members, the important work we do and the creative, thoughtful way we support new ideas.”
Maker Way will be complete and open to through traffic next spring.