Downtown isn’t the City Core!

By:  Diane Benjamin

Downtown businesses didn’t even support the Downtown Bloomington Association.  Now the DBA employees are happy City employees complete with higher salaries, benefits and pensions!

The Coliseum and the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts (BCPA) were supposed to brings hoards of people downtown.

The Visitor’s Center in the McLean County History Museum was supposed to bring hoards of people downtown.

The last Downtown TIF expired in 2015.  This is a recap of the total TIF as filed with the Illinois Comptroller’s office:

In 2015 $21,006 was transferred from the General Fund to cover expenses.

PDF page 10 of the TIF report has this chart showing TOTALS:

I have no idea how the Fund Balance Report can show Municipal Sources (Government) put in $23,500,000 when the above table only shows $4,633,141.

Where the $4,633,141 was spent is itemized starting on page 10 and following.

I will file a FOIA request to try to find out what the $23,500,000 means.

Where am I going with this?

The Downtown Task Force Committee has no original ideas.  Every member of that committee LOVES downtown and thinks you need to pay for their whims.  Just like the City Council, there are no members who represent the citizens – that is the fault of un-engaged citizens who have allowed them steal your money at will.

Moving the library and building a bus transfer site will accomplish nothing more than rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.  Neither suggestion will bring more people downtown, it definitely won’t bring people with money downtown.  The citizens will merely be in more debt, 10 years from now everyone will know this was a big mistake and sucking the life out of Bloomington’s finances.  (See Coliseum and BCPA)

Why does the library want to expand?

This story from January 2017 shows a decrease in circulation:

It used to be much easier to see trends when David Hales did Monthly City Manager reports.  When the news on tax receipts etc turned bad, they were discontinued in the same form.  What Hales publishes now has very little information with links that have no information.

Here’s another story from October 2016 showing the library decreases:

What we have seen from the library is an increase in “programs”.  Library tax funds aren’t used solely for library purposes, they are going toward “entertaining” patrons.

The purpose of a library is not to entertain, once again government is usurping the ability of the private sector  to compete.  Capitalism is under attack again by the government that should be protecting free markets.  Government makes bad decisions with your money because there are no consequences.  They can always throw more money at any problems.

Maybe the City should start selling insurance, used cars, and groceries.  They have most of the entertainment venues sewed up:  Miller Park Zoo, Grossinger Motors Arena, BCPA, Lincoln Leisure Center, many dozens of parks, Constitution Trail, and now the library.  I wonder if discussions of how to take over the The Castle Theatre have taken place?  They are succeeding in entertainment while the City has failed.

Government doesn’t create economic prosperity.  The City Core is Veterans Parkway and nothing this group or Council does is going to change that.  These leaders live in a bubble with their buddies who think downtown deserves your bucks.  That is why Tari only appointed people who agree with him.  EVERY commission is staffed with the same type of Renner lackeys.

It’s hilarious watching some of the Council telling of all the “positive feedback” they’ve heard on this or that, the latest being the new signs.  The nine members don’t know anybody outside their circle or they are summarily dismissing anyone with a different perspective.  They are creating more local acrimony by even contemplating tearing down a parking garage.  What they haven’t said is a new parking garage will have to be built.  In fact, they have been discussing the need for another garage downtown anyway, so you may be building two.

Bloomington leadership has long envied Normal’s short meetings and ability to tax and spend with little discussion.  They finally achieved their goal, except they have a mayor incapable of governing who needs to resign.

Bloomington needs to find their own Marc Tiritilli.


13 thoughts on “Downtown isn’t the City Core!

  1. I call this what I call the Broccoli Bus coming to your neighborhood soon with fresh vegetables and a health screening. No… this is not an Onion Article… this is actually a plan!


    1. Did everyone who read the article catch the part about several MONTHS to remove the seats and install new fixtures? I know for a fact a team of 2-3 people who knew what they were doing could accomplish that in about 2 days, 3 max. I also noted the voter registration drives, my my I WONDER who will be their target voters…


  2. Two of the leading cheerleaders for the relocation of the library and public transit location is Herb and Pamela Eaton. Why? Herb’s art studio is directly across the street from the proposed library location.
    Will that increase the sales of Herb’s art work? I, personally, don’t think so because artwork is definitely up to the buyer, not the seller. Will the users of the library and transportation hub buy artwork? Probably not. How many users of public transportation even spend money on local artwork? Don’t know but I would wager not many.
    At a recent Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association meeting this was discussed and Herb “railed on” one of the attendees about why the City and all the rich people who work for State Farm should pay for this library and transportation center.


    1. All the “rich” people pay for projects through their high property taxes. The Library is it’s own property taxing body. The hub was original placed near the Law & Justice Center because if its proximity to the social services in the Government building—like the public health department. The current hub provides more services for the poor than the proposed location.


  3. Honestly I cannot even remember the last time I have went to any business in downtown BL. I took a friend to the museum once and we thought that was a waste of time not to mention the time limit on parking near by. I was like lets hurry up and leave before I get a ticket.

    My mother changed to get her prescription to Walgreen’s on south main. I refused to go there anymore to pick them up. Why, because it was out of my way and everything I need or want to go to is along Veteran’s Pkwy. Sorry I’m not in the business of supporting Walgreen’s by wasting gasoline and time going out of my way.

    What would be interesting to know is how many businesses have opened and closed in the downtown area and the reasons why. We’ll never know. Maybe the DBA needs to do some research as to why first. What they propose is like the education system fix. Lets throw some more money at it hoping that fixes the problem. Yeah we all know how that is working out. It isn’t fixing anything. They have the mentality if we build it they will come. Yeah maybe a Disney Land. Criminey they can’t even get a good anchor store or restaurant to locate there.


  4. If ya ever took a look at Hales resume when he first became city manager of Blm., 2/3 of it was the Agenda 21 crap of sustainability, green this, green that which is mostly taking the green $ from the citizens to put in the hands of the carbonazis and other such robber barons. Renners background was an education of brainwashing for a Marxist agenda. Thus, we got what we paid for,,,tyranny, the devil in sheeps clothing.


  5. The following is from the packet for the May 8, 2017 Council meeting at which the Task Force was established. Notice, they have failed in their task. There does not seem to be a definitive Action Plan to move the highest priorities forward. There is no list of top priorities other than move the library. If you wish to review any further information, view the approved minutes which can be found in the packet of the meeting of May 22, 2017 as well as the You Tube video of the May 8th meeting.

    From the Background:
    “In line with the importance of a revitalized Downtown, the Mayor has proposed the creation of a Downtown Task Force designed to establish top priorities for Downtown Bloomington for the next 3 to 5 years, as well as to formulate a definite action plan to move those highest priorities forward and bring them to fruition. The Task Force will be subject to the Illinois Open Meetings Act and will consist of nine members, including Amelia Buragas, who will serve as the chairperson, along with Kim Bray, Jamie Mathy, Carlo Robustelli, Justin Boyd, Tricia Stiller, Mike Manna, Bobby Vericella, and Joe Haney.”

    From the Resolution:
    “WHEREAS, the Mayor of the City of Bloomington has proposed the formation of a Downtown Task Force to assist with the planning and determination of the City’s next steps in revitalizing Downtown Bloomington; and

    WHEREAS, the fundamental purpose of the Task Force shall be to establish top priorities for Downtown Bloomington for the next 3 to 5 years as well as a definite Action Plan to move those highest priorities forward and bring them to fruition; and…”

    “Section 2. The City Council of the City of Bloomington hereby formally creates the Downtown Task Force Committee, which shall be considered an ad hoc committee of the City of Bloomington. The Task Force shall be charged with identifying priorities for the revitalization of Downtown Bloomington and developing an action plan as set forth in this Resolution. The Task Force shall consist of nine people, including: Amelia Buragas, Kim Bray, Jamie Mathy, Carlo Robustelli, Justin Boyd, Tricia Stiller, Mike Manna, Bobby Vericella, and Joe Haney. The Task Force shall be chaired by Amelia Buragas. The Task Force shall meet initially at the call of the Chair, and thereafter on a schedule adopted by the Task Force.” PDF 219-222


    1. A few more things…Farnsworth would be given the contract for the new design at the new location, not only has the library already paid Farnsworth #60K-$80K for the expansion of the current library, the City spent $500K for the property behind the Public Works drop off location for the purpose of library expansion. The newbies on the Council should get up to speed before making any new proposals.


  6. Let’s ride in the time machine back to 1970.. Downtown had:
    3 Jewelry stores, Rolands, Osco Drugs, a travel agency, tailors, a major loan business, TWO book stores-well, one book store and TWO news stands, a hobby store, a fire station, other various stores and FEW bars…
    WHAT is there in downtown now that was there then??
    And the council is going to make downtown viable? Heck, they can’t even “re-invent” (a Tari term) Eastland into stores-they want it to have theaters, bowling alleys, and such crap… THIS is progress??
    What THIS city NEEDS is FRESH thinkers and NOT the Boulder green wanna be’s that want you to eat organic, be green and have a place for your dog to run along the bike path. How’s that Green Grocery doing in the MIDDLE of a foodie desert for cripes sake??
    This pack of task farce “thinkers” is so narrow minded that they could walk side by side between the space of most ANY building downtown..


  7. Anyone who has studied urban development would know that cities expand in circles away from the center and away from sewage. Ar some point it makes economic sense to go back to the center and redevelop. Bloomington is trying to force the redevelopment by throwing our tax money at it! Time to put some adults in charge.


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