By: Diane Benjamin
If the “welcoming ordinance” discussion isn’t divisive enough, the Downtown Task Force plan will also be presented. Most of the crowd will be gone when the previous discussion ends. The mob will only be there for the “No Justice No Peace” part. The Council should have held a special session only for them, but common sense doesn’t exist. It’s going to be sad to see a Council meeting in a mostly empty auditorium.
Documentation of downtown starts on page 52: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15474
A new relocated library and bus transfer station are still the catalyst project. Neither brings badly needed money downtown, so Tari’s hand-picked group must think bodies equals success. (Economics classes weren’t required to be in this group)
They claim 1000 people a day visit the library. A few questions have no answers:
- How many of them only come to use computers?
- How many of them are just getting out of the cold because shelters don’t allow day stays?
- Since these 1000 people downtown haven’t created economic activity, why would moving it a couple blocks be any better?
- How many never check out or read a book?
- How many only use the free meeting room?
- How many bus transfer riders spend money downtown now?
- Why would a shiny new station make them spend money?
- What is the purpose of a library?
- Have the people paying the bills been asked what the purpose of a library is?
The only reason this group wants to move the library is to justify tearing down an aging parking garage. They forget to say a new parking garage will be needed. Citizens not only get to pay for a new library and transfer station, they get to pay for a parking garage too. Of course the old library will need to be torn down and whatever their next wish is built there. Massive debt will follow. This city government is like a kid with a credit card. If the minimum payments can be made, the interest expense is immaterial.
Downtown Bloomington has a lot of really rich people working and owning property there. They didn’t support the Downtown Business Association since the City had to take it over, so eventually they really don’t care about the inlaid brick streets, fancy cross walks, decorative lighting, and street art the task force claims will help revitalize the area. (pics in the packet) Many of those people profited from the last downtown TIF and it’s probably why I have to sue the City to find out how much each got in facade grants. If they didn’t care unless they profited, why should the rest of the city care about beautification?
This paragraph sums up the hope:
Many residents view Downtown as a central hub for our community and express a strong desire for additional public spaces in Downtown Bloomington. These spaces also are ideal for use in programming and special events to bring people into the Downtown area. Walkability is a key feature of downtowns and an area that poses tremendous opportunity to adopt innovative practices when it comes to utilization of the public right-of-way and integration of multi-modal transportation.
Who are those “many“?
If we build it they will come!
Don’t miss page 68. The city is going to have to buy the Front and Center building. Downtown must look like Uptown – mixed use, retail on the bottom and apartments above. The owner can’t be forced to do anything with their building, but the City can force you to pay for something to happen with the building when the City buys it.
Page 69 – 8. Place a high priority on modernizing infrastructure in the Downtown area. Don’t expect your roads to be fixed anytime soon unless you are downtown.
Page 71 – A hotel and convention center is viable. Obviously no one has checked recent occupancy rates around town.
Page 70 – Estimated cost. See if you can figure out why it’s presented like it is:
Anybody wishing they had voted last April yet?