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Downtown Bloomington Strategy
Thank you for your interest in the future of Downtown Bloomington! This section of our website is devoted to the Downtown Strategy. Included will be information about the process, current status, meeting notification and results, information on how to get involved and places for feedback.
After a year and a half of public input, research and planning, the Bloomington Planning Commission voted to approve the Downtown Bloomington Strategy on Wednesday, February 24.
As one of the six priorities set by the members of Bloomington’s city council, the success of downtown is vital to the community. This plan provides a vision and framework for that continued success
An excerpt from “Community Vision” in the Downtown Bloomington Strategy:
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.
The Strategy is divided into several parts:
An illustrative Master Plan highlights key redevelopment opportunities and addresses both retail and residential growth.
Zoning and land use recommendations discusses the clustering of land uses, rejuvenating inactive spaces and beautifying the downtown area.
The Parking Policy Framework encourages better management of downtown parking and suggests the use of parking meters to alleviate congestion.
The Transportation Component emphasizes accessibility and walkability. Suggestions include converting to two-way streets, more bicycle facilities and streetscape recommendation.
And finally, the Implementation Strategy divides much of the plan into short, medium and long-term time frames. It also talks about various funding options including creation of a new tax increment financing district and a business improvement district.