Downtown folly

By:  Diane Benjamin

This morning Tari was interviewed on WJBC.  Listen here:

Tari claims he doesn’t know all the details of the presentations to the Council tonight by two developers.  He also claims Bloomington is “on the move” and that’s why developers are interested in downtown.

Tari has been proclaiming since he was elected that “strip malls are dead” and “cities can’t be successful without a prosperous downtown”.  Keep reading!

Tari has two developers interested in projects.  One owns a building downtown – CII East – that he has never finished redeveloping.  He also sued the City of Bloomington over the last TIF district and may still be appealing the case – according to the TIF documents filed in 2014.  The report shows TIF legal expenses of $61,312 and a note that any further legal expenses would have to be paid from the General Fund.  See page 4 and page 17:  TIF report

The other developer tried to force a quick Council vote a few months ago by saying his option on the Front and Center building had a time limit.  The building has been sitting empty for years, but the plan had a time limit?  His proposal would have leveled the building leaving it “shovel ready” with no shovels in sight.  He also ignored all the underground infrastructure and asbestos contained within it.

When the “reverend” Downtown Tari proclaims ceaselessly that he is willing to give developers money to “connect the Coliseum to the Route 66 Visitors Center”, of course developers are going to show up!  Who wouldn’t want free money?

Tari went on to proclaim the greatness of the Marriott in Uptown Normal.  He failed to mention the number of hotels now out of business or the use of eminent domain to seize the properties belonging to Orval Yarger.  Normal decided government plans took priority over a citizens private property rights.  Has the Chateau paid their taxes yet Tari?  Now that Normal has TWO Uptown hotels, they may never be able to pay.  Yes, Uptown is now a destination.  The deck chairs on the Titanic have been rearranged to make that possible.

One new thing we learned – the National Development Council has been replaced by Steve Friedman’s firm.

One more note:  Tari thinks a boutique hotel will allow for more events at the Coliseum.  A big problem with the BCPA is too many small events that don’t make money.  A tiny hotel is going to allow for more events at the Coliseum?  Tiny events?  Events where staff has to be paid even if paid customers don’t cover the cost?  How does that work Tari?

Again Tari proclaimed a waiting list for downtown apartments.  Just one leasing company, Redbird Apartments, shows 3 available:  ( shows 148 rentals available just in the City of Bloomington.  College kids probably aren’t looking for housing now.  Mitsubishi is closing and State Farm continues to ship people out.  Is Tari wanting to rearrange the apartment market deck chairs by subsidizing construction of more downtown?

Tonight’s meeting is at 5:30.  Tari says it will be live-streamed.


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7 thoughts on “Downtown folly

  1. I wish the Mayor would STOP associating TIFs with Reagan. They originated in the 1970s in California before Reagan was even Governor of California. PLEASE get your facts straight before pontificating on the radio.

  2. Skunk! I don’t think that Tari has EVER been concerned with FACTS, or he wouldn’t be telling us the city NEEDED a tax increase, the BCPA, a Bootique hotel, bike lanes or that Anna Nicole Smith married for love!
    I think he’s MUCH more interested in CRAMMING unneeded crap down the citizens throat, but as for WHAT agenda I don’t know, as NONE of the mayors of Bloomington have left a GOOD landmark except for Mayor’s Manor which used to be Walt Bittners home.

    1. You’re right! I think it’s time to publicly correct him. After all, he is in academia. He would get a failing grade from me for not doing proper research.

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