Your money: Downtown

by Diane Benjamin

How did Normal accomplish the Uptown project?  It was easy – stack the City Council.  Anybody who didn’t totally agree with the agenda wasn’t considered for appointment to empty seats.  The last election sealed Normal’s fate, everybody Chris Koos wanted got elected.    Normal – you did it to yourself by staying home on election day.

Bloomington tried the same thing.  They want what Normal has.  From the Downtown Bloomington Association website:  (The spelling errors were left on purpose!)

Downtown Bloomington is one of the greatest assets in the Bloomington-Normal metroplolitan area and has the potential to enhance its regional draw. Its abundant historic features and character, location on Illinois Route 51, a major commercial thoroughfare, and centralized position within the community give Downtown an advantage over other regional centers (see Figure 1-1). However, in order to capitalize on this advantage, the City of Bloomington and its residents must recognize the importance of Downtown as a critical asset as well as the fundamental shift taking place across the country, particularly among young adults and the elderly, towards living in more urban settings. This shift will increase the demand for the lifestyle provided by Downtown Bloomington, and the benefits of this demand can be captured most effectively through implementing the policies contained in this document. While conditions within Downtown are stable, the area is not reaching its potential due to several errant planning issues. To originally indentify these issues, at the outset of this planning process, participants at a community meeting were asked to describe their hope and vision for Downtown in one word. Typical responses included that residents envisioned Downtown as sustainable, walkable, cultural, energetic, accesible and clean. 

Participants were also asked whet they felt the greatest threats and weaknesses were for Downtown. One of the greatest threats voiced was the infringement of Veteran’s Parkway and other suburban sprawl into the retail market that could be locating within Downtown. The auto -oriented style of retail development prevalent along Vereran’s Parkway is not conducive to a Downtown setting, particularly Downtown Bloomington, which has such an intact historyic retail core. It was decided through the public process and market study that Downtown should seek to emphasize its urban character to provide a different experience to visitors that that offered by typical suburban commercial development.

A complete Master Plan is also available:

It should come as no surprise that Farr and Associates did the plan – the same group that did Normal’s.  Tari Renner didn’t come up with the hotel plan across from the Coliseum on his own, it’s in there.

It should also come as no surprise why Steven Stockton appointed Jamie Mathy to the City Council and tried to get him elected as a write-in candidate:

The members of our Board include: 

Jamie Mathy (President) 
Mavidea Technology Group 
200 W Monroe #102 
Bloomington, IL 61701

The true believers in downtown Bloomington wanted the Bloomington City Council stacked as well.  They will undoubtedly try to unseat Judy Stearns in 2 years and Kevin Lower in 4.  For now, citizens of Bloomington still have a voice, even if it is only 2 alderman.  Citizens of Normal have none.

They claim the future people want is urban living, sustainable development, and walkable.  Aren’t you dying to live downtown?  The condos aren’t selling, so it doesn’t look like it.  Maybe if they spend more money . . .

Maybe a refresher course on Agenda 21 will help you see the real purpose.

2 thoughts on “Your money: Downtown

  1. Diane: Why is there no mention anywhere on your blog regarding Judy Stearns and her support for Tari Renner? All I ever read on here is your unwavering support for Stearns. Doesn’t this seem like a contradiction? Why didn’t you report on this?

    1. Where do you get your information? Judy believed Hanson would have been a disaster as mayor, she served on the council with him. She didn’t believe Green was electable, so that only leaves one guy. She didn’t campaign for him however.

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