Failed Downtown Bloomington Assoc

By:  Diane Benjamin

I hope Tari’s handpicked stacked Downtown Bloomington Committee is having fun dreaming of how to spend your money.  At the end of this month they will enlighten the public with ideas for getting people downtown.  Just because somebody builds it, it doesn’t mean anybody will come.  How many decades has taxpayer money been thrown away downtown?

If the business owners in downtown Bloomington cared about downtown, the taxpayers of Bloomington wouldn’t have to hand $90,000 a year to the Downtown Business Association.  How many are dues paying members?

The $90,000 a year subsidy was meant to expire in 2011, 6 years later and they are still on the take.  From 2014:

Search for lots of other DBA stories.

How much Revenue has the DBA been reporting to the IRS?   They are a non-profit.  Remember $90,000 came from the City:

2015 Revenue: $120,888  Salaries: $59,409

2014 Revenue: $112,690   Salaries:  $66,553

2013 Revenue: $117,120    Salaries:   $63,260

2012 Revenue: $113,772     Salaries:   $62,175

2011 Revenue: $142,814    Salaries:   $56,104

2010 Revenue:  $171,767  Salaries:  $98,025

Note much higher revenue in 2010 and 2011 – right before the subsidies were scheduled to end!

As soon as the Council decided to continue funding the DBA revenue decreased.  The DBA was given 10 years to achieve self-sufficiency.  Their tax returns show they were getting close in 2010.

Government could have declared victory and reduced the subsidies.  The Council snatched victory and handed defeat once again to taxpayers.  Tari’s committee will do the same by having no clear vision for downtown.  The bars make the City way too much money, so they aren’t going anywhere.  Who will make major investments downtown when the nights belong to drunks?

Probably taxpayers – they are the only ones with money the City can steal.



12 thoughts on “Failed Downtown Bloomington Assoc

  1. Wait until they block traffic and make pedestrian plaza out of main street. People will freak!

  2. WHEN they block Main street, I’ll shop elsewhere.. The downtown has been under “revitalization” since Walt Bittner was mayor, and most every conceivable thing has been tried-one way streets, the museum, festivals, etc. The ONLY way downtown WILL come back is STORES, which ain’t happening. And IF they put in parking meters, they may as well bring in the bulldozers as I’ll totally stop shopping there (as will most folks), just as I have UPTOWN.
    I did get a chuckle out of one of the “task farce down town plan” guys on the Sunday Pantagraph pointing to a tree that is big enough to support “decorative lights” in the 400 block of N. Main-WHAT a brain storm. Maybe we can have Christmas on the Main year round.

  3. Strange group of people that think this is still 1950 something with shopping downtown.
    Has anyone told them this is 2017?
    I saw the 2 articles on the socialite newspaper website on Sunday. Two shopping areas continue to loose stores and they expect that area to flourish. Doesn’t matter how much fluff with planters and pedestrian areas you put in..there is nothing there worth while.

  4. Denver had/has a downtown pedestrian plaza which was bustling, now there are boarded up store front and less than desirable people hanging out down there at night. Weed, being legal in CO, some storefronts are full of ads promoting marajauna. Bloomington, downtown is not ever going to be a retail shopping area again. On line is where it’s at for the younger generation.

    1. Rockford tried the downtown mall 40 years ago. It didn’t work, and now they’ve torn it out. But, hey, I’m sure they just didn’t do it right. Bloomington will do it right. It’s fine.

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