Renner’s downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin

Renner isn’t responding to the market, he’s trying to create one.  Just like he claims bike paths and buses are the future, he continues to claim Bloomington’s future is downtown.  Decades of massive spending haven’t been enough.

Here’s a little Renner history.  Not included are the Downtown Streetscape Plan and the Downtown Master Plan.

12/9/2013 Downtown Bloomington Strategy:

Lead consultant was Farr Associates.  I don’t know the total cost, but Farr was paid $7000 on 10/10/13 and $1810 on 1/9/14.  Numerous other consultants are listed on page two.

$30,000 approved 12/9/2013 for the Downtown Hotel Feasibility Study:

(It’s now immaterial because conditions have changed)

Who voted for it?


Don’t forget the first Giebelhausen plan.   For $8.5 million he wanted to give the City a blank canvas by tearing down the Front and Center building and a few surrounding buildings.

Just two days ago Tari Renner was on WJBC:

He gave NO indication the deal was failing apart.  He claims the consultant below told him the plan wasn’t viable.  This is payment just in 2016:


Many staff hours have been wasted trying to put together a deal for a downtown hotel.  Financing might have killed this deal, but I believe the hotel involved didn’t want to rehab the Front & Center building.  They wanted land ready to build on.  Paying off the Huff loans at CEFCU and the demolition costs make that impossible.

Renner keeps claiming any deal has to protect Bloomington taxpayers.  He didn’t care when he:

  • instituted an amusement tax
  • raised utility taxes
  • raised garbage fees
  • raised the sales tax
  • raised the gas tax
  • raised liquor fees
  • exploded the City budget

Mayor:  The Farmers Market Works.  Expand on the easy stuff and quit wasting time and money – you will never get a plan that works without fleecing citizens.





7 thoughts on “Renner’s downtown

  1. “Expand on the easy stuff”, I will have to agree on that.

    If you look at the town of Normal they do promote the downtown area such as the Sugar Creek Art Festival and the sweet corn event later in the year attracting people to the area. Bloomington in my opinion hasn’t done enough other than doing the farmer’s market. I can remember back in maybe the early 1980’s there was a bicycle racing event held in downtown Bloomington. I don’t recall if that went on for several years or not.

    Having been at Waukesha WI they do a Friday night live event during the summer months attracting people. Many of businesses in the downtown area open their doors for business during that time too.

    So yes there are ways to promote the downtown without dipping into the taxpayer’s pockets and to help businesses.


    1. I belive a bicycle racing event will be occurring here this summer or fall. As for the downtown businesses staying open late, there is a First Friday event every month sponsored by the DBA which is subsidized with $90,000.00 worth of tax dollars annually. Unfortunately, very few establishments participate since it is on a volunteer basis. For that matter, membership in the DBA is on a volunteer. The “stakeholders” in downtown need to take the initiative and responsibility to actively draw business downtown without relying on support of taxpayer dollars.


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