Downtown Downtown Downtown!

By:  Diane Benjamin

The Council thinks they can make downtown a destination.  The Coliseum and the BCPA were supposed to do the same thing.

Since the Council spent close to two hours last night discussing beautification and streets, it proves the MILLIONS already spent have failed.

There were some tiny shreds of fiscal responsibility when several alderman nixed making Jefferson a brick street because of the cost.  You will see bike lanes even though seeing a bike in the lanes on Washington Street is as common as discovering gold.

They talked extensively about public bathrooms.  You won’t see port-a-pottys, but they want something, just no idea what.  They talked about making the downtown target area smaller to create a core.  (Main to Center and Front to Market)  There was also a discussion of “forcing” businesses in the target area to stay open later with standard hours so people know when downtown is open.  It was compared to a mall with set hours for merchants.  At 46:30 Black thinks downtown restrooms will encourage downtown festivals and events.  Many on the Council think festivals and tourism will create economic development.

Around 50:00 David Sage suggested creating an App for downtown to highlight parking and places to visit.  Alderman Mathy took it farther wanting kiosks pointing to various areas, supposedly paid for through advertising.  (Did he forget about the Way-Finding signs?)  Mathy also wants all downtown businesses in the core area to have retail on the first floor.  He must not understand if there was a demand it would already exist.

The City is applying for a 50-50 grant for recycling containers downtown.

The Front and Center building came up.  Around 1:04 Renner talked about using eminent domain.  City Manager Steve Rasmussen claimed they are working on something they will bring back to the Council.

At 1:06:40 Buragas thinks the Council should just pass her task force plan.  She also wants to go back to catalyst projects.  She wants more people downtown on a daily basis.  Simple economics prove shuffling the deck on where people go to shop means other areas will suffer if somehow people flock downtown.  The markets make decisions, government plans aren’t market driven and always fail.   See the last 15 years+ of downtown government planning.  At 1:33 Buragas gets a little huffy about the Council ignoring the task force report recommending things like fancy shared streets:

If this story sounds like the Council was all over the place with no clear plan, you are correct.  Buragas’s Task Force was all over the place with recommendations – many costing lots of money.  Normal was in ZERO debt before they did Uptown.  Bloomington isn’t close to ZERO.

Until the Council realizes (or is replaced) Bloomington does exist outside of a few square blocks downtown they will continue sticking lipstick on a pig at the expensive of everywhere else.

Alderman Bray was absent with no explanation given.

The entire Task force plan can be seen here starting on PDF page 11:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15904

 

 

17 thoughts on “Downtown Downtown Downtown!

      1. Yes, that’s all downtown is, and ever will be, good for: bars/entertainment. Except it, reap the tax benefits, and move on.

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  1. Sounds like some dissension here. BOTTOM LINE-The council can throw money in the wind in hundred dollar bills and it WILL NOT bring the downtown area any closer to a “feasible” commercial area. So you WANT the first floor to be RETAIL-DEFINE retail! What if someone opens a coin shop (there used to be TWO downtown). Do they NEED to charge everyone the same price. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. No matter HOW MUCH you beat a dead horse, it’s DEAD! And if they THINK that bike lanes, potties, water fountains, roundabouts, etc are going to revitalize the area, then yeah, it’s EASIER to find gold in the area-SEE Gold Springs, Illinois (use google)
    Meanwhile. FIX THE STREETS and people WILL venture out and make it downtown.
    and all the brick streets in Praha won’t make the area prosperous-give it a REST Amelia!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tari mentioned “eminent domain”…be very afraid. Could Amelia be any snootier or out of touch? The market has spoken, the Downtown is a waste of time and (other people’s) money!!! Meanwhile, State Farm is downsizing, businesses are closing up, and the population is declining. But don’t worry, we’ll just plant some trees, put in a fountain, public restrooms, and force businesses to have the hours government wants. These idiots are clueless!

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  3. So our Council wants to dictate the hours of businesses (small businesses that likely pay minimum wage) and they want to dictate how every property is used (business on the bottom) and they want the Citizens who want none of this to pay for it? Why are so few outraged? Maybe something to do with the way the “local media” reports this?

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  4. they fail to realize business draws customers solely on need and merit ,, several factors influence where a business locate including market , expenses , traffic patterns , viability , parking -ease of use . folk rarely care about bling surrounding a place ….. all these fools are doing is building an expensive casket as they raise fees and taxes , cutting into monies to make purchases .

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  5. Today the discussion is how to bring back downtown.

    In the future the discussion will be how to bring back the east side if the issues that truly matter and impact the citizens aren’t soon addressed.

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    1. The answer to bringing back downtown is to put the 800 people back in the State Farm building with jobs. Their needs will include alternative destinations for lunch, parking, banking, drugstore needs, miscellaneous shops filling needs for gifts. With that building now being void of any activity at all,,,it ain’t gonna happen! Other wise if the council had any business sense at all they would embrace all that downtown presently has to offer and work with it to make it better in basic needs such as parking, snow removal, and other basic infrastructure needs. But this coucil has NO business sense, instead a record of immense failure comes to mind.

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  6. Of course Mr Mathy is in favor of main level retail only. His wife owns a successful restaurant downtown! How about lobbying for the whole instead of personal interests?
    What business wants to relocate to downtown? No parking, no traffic, horrible roads leading into downtown!

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  7. I live on the East Side of town as well. I can’t think of ANYTHING they could do to draw me downtown. I go to some concerts, but they haven’t had any decent acts at the coliseum in a very long time. In fact, I hate to even cross Veteran’s Parkway, let alone go downtown.

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