By: Diane Benjamin
Decatur taxpayers are outraged at the money their City Council spent making downtown a walk-able, livable sustainable space. They built it and NOBODY came. Sound familiar?
While reading, keep in mind: The lighting plan for downtown Bloomington is $8.5 Million. Taxpayers already paid $74, 670 for the study.
Downtown Decatur died decades ago when developers wanted to build a mall downtown. The City said NO – so they built it in Forsyth instead. Forsyth used to be smaller than Wapella, now it is the business hub of Decatur without being in Decatur. All the taxes went to Forsyth too.
Downtown Decatur has Merchant Street – you can see pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/o8evm4f
It’s a cute street, but pictures are only of the east side – where shops are. The other side is mostly buildings that don’t have retail. There are a few retail shops across the north end of Merchant Street and a few more scattered on other streets. Big private investment in businesses did not materialize. The Decatur Celebration is the biggest draw, but it’s only held once a year.
Central Park is a tourist attraction. It has a fountain and the Transfer House – Decatur’s decades old history icon. City offices were located there for a while, I’m not sure if they still are. The outside of the building is what draws interest. Pictures are on the link above.
What did all this cuteness cost?
According to this article in the Decatur newspaper, dated May 8, 2012: http://herald-review.com/news/local/council-gets-update-on-downtown-streetscape-project/article_9916b12c-98d3-11e1-ad0e-0019bb2963f4.html
Construction could begin as soon as fall on Central Park, while work on Franklin Street is set for spring 2013. The plans would finish out the city’s three-year,
$14 million streetscape enhancement project.
|Central Park Streetscape and Open Space Enhancement||2012-14||Otto Baum Company, Inc.||Bid Tab||9/4/2012|
Total Cost: $1,735,022
|Main Street Streetscape Enhancement City Project||2010-17||Feutz Contractors, Inc.||Bid Tab||2/21/2012|
Total Cost: $4,087,534
Total cost: $1,656,176
All the below is NEW spending not included above:
According to this link: http://www.decaturil.gov/citygovernment/publicworks/FY%202015%20Capital%20Improvement%20Plan.pdf
The 2015 budget has $333,927 for Streetscape – Festival Power
On the same link – page 6
Complete the downtown Streetscape $102,000
On the same link – page 28:
Provide a new truck route because trucks hurt their downtown streetscape – Cost over 2 years $1,780,000
Page 29 – More Streetscape spending: $814,185 over 2 years
Is this your future Bloomington?
Depends on the April elections.