Another one bites the dust

By:  Diane Benjamin

YMCA, State Farm, and now Specs Around Town are just some businesses who have or will be leaving downtown Bloomington.

City of Bloomington:  Whatever you are doing is causing flight from downtown.

Downtown is for bars, restaurants, lawyers, and government.  Until Bloomington quits trying to make downtown something it isn’t, the few businesses left will continue to flee.  The “right fit” is no longer an option.  If government gets out of the way some boutique type stores might pop up because rent is cheap.

Hint:  Spending millions on a bus transfer station isn’t going to help.  People don’t ride the bus because they have money burning a hole in their pockets to spend downtown.  The massive bus subsidies will end at some point and so will the local bus service as it exists today.  You will only be creating another empty build downtown.

Bloomington blew their money on the Coliseum and BCPA.  Both are losers and both do nothing to increase traffic downtown.  Both should send a clear message that government doesn’t create prosperity.  Both bleed money from the City coffers, the Creativity Center will be no different.  Where are the thousands the Visitor’s Center was supposed to bring downtown?

Bloomington’s government must admit they failed.  The proof is overwhelming.  If John Butler and company get off on all charges, the Council members who didn’t listen to definitive proof of malfeasance need to get out of town – just like David Hales did.  Questions are already popping up about why you all aren’t charged with official misconduct!

Cut your losses and the wasting of money taxpayers had to work hard for.  You are looking worse than incompetent.  Fire your downtown staff.  The DBA failed, putting them on staff with pensions and benefits just made the losses worse.

Anybody at the City with a little common sense?

This is also more proof mayors should never attend the US Conference of Mayors where the losing philosophies like downtown are ingrained.







27 thoughts on “Another one bites the dust

  1. Just sitting here looking thru a 1905 BLOOMINGTON directory, Moore’s Harness, Trunks and Saddlery 113 E Jefferson, E.A. Hauffe-Sign Painter Over Fahey’s Shoes , West side of the square. N.E. Patton Poultry, eggs, butter, etc 512 So. Main.
    I could go on. point is, there is NO diversity in downtown OR UPTOWN, it’s just all the same bling, the “right fit” etc, IF you went downtown to get butter, you MIGHT decide you NEEDED new shoes. And as for GONE, add Clay Dooley to the list.
    SAD really. But we’ll GET RIGHT ON that welcoming ordinance and avoid the issues here.. Avoidance complex..

    1. You don’t even have to go back that far,(1905) it was a lot better even in the 60s and 70s. Except for some food, and a couple other specialty type places, there is NOTHING downtown now that will last long unless they are owned by rich people who use it as hobby or a write off or they are subsidized somehow.

      1. And then Eastland Mall came along, development engulfed the east side with,,,private developments. Then the north east took off. Then the,,,well you get the picture. Sociology 101 explores the history of how cities grow of which our mayors and councils seem to have never taken the class. The political science professor has been brainwashed by looney toon Marxists and just doesn’t understand what a fool he and his ilk are. They’re in love with their power and that’s about it.

  2. There’s an old saying “You can’t fix stupid” – These people “running the show” are simply stupid. – Full stop. Add to the mix that they are also arrogant in their stupidity and it is a complete fiasco, every time. The original problem was letting these perfect examples of The Peter Principle, along with the elevation of incompetent butt kissers and assorted “four flushers” into positions of authority, then they praise and adore each other and reward each other at ridiculous “awards dinners” and the like and the peasants (the gullible ones) continue to believe that these morons are the best of the best. – That is it, in a nutshell. The rest of the problem is they are now deeply entrenched and have poisoned the city through and through causing many people to be resigned to the situation. Bloomington (and Normal too) needs a TOTAL overhaul from the top down, and it will NOT be a an easy task – in fact, it would be Herculean in it’s difficulty.

      1. Haha! I’m sorry Diane…I’m still laughing. (Your sarcasm is noted.) The Chamber is dominated by big fish in a small pond with huge egos. Most actively involved in Chamber events are nobodies outside of BN and live in a bubble.

  3. Another business to flee downtown Bloomington is Bill’s key and Lock shop that relocated May 1. They had been there for years, now another empty store front.

    1. Didn’t know about Bill’s leaving (since I very seldom go downtown it’s no surprise I did not notice) I actually thought of them as one of the few “other” places still left downtown. I wish them well in their new location.

    1. Agreed. It’s not just Downtown, though vacancies are worse Downtown. This goes back to earlier comments about the City just not paying any attention to the local economy, which is very sick. Instead, they spend time on a Welcome Ordinance or BCPA funding or other nonsense. Meanwhile, State Farm is issuing more relos left-and-right, while hiring customer service and claims positions because those in Tacoma would rather be laid off and look elsewhere than relocate to BN. Sad.

  4. Uptown Normal was a ghost town, too. Public-private partnership turned it around. Downtown is not hopeless, but city leaders need to act NOW.

    1. Act how exactly, Rich? Throw more money at the problem. The market has spoken. Despite the City spending tens of millions of dollars, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars, the area continues to decline. By the way, Uptown Normal is not a success just because it looks prettier. $90 million in debt…for what? Possibly, maybe, additional tax revenue, which by the way is just tax revenue redirected from other businesses in BN. The Downtown supports keep saying “we” need to invest in Downtown, but they really mean “you” and “me” since most are not putting their money on the line.

    2. My instincts tell me uptown Normal was becoming a “ghost town” because they were being bombarded with “regulations” and “code violations” of some sort or another. They were also being disparaged and bad mouthed by the “powers that be” – there are LOTS of ways, underhanded and cruel ways, that the “elite” get rid of places they don’t like. They will hound people until they simply can’t take it anymore either financially or emotionally. It’s a bad bunch you have thrown your hat in with Rich, a very bad bunch of people.

    3. The City “leaders” have been chasing their vision of a “revitalized” downtown for a quarter of a century—or longer. You should not compare downtown Bloomington with Normal. Normal has a captive audience of 20,000+ students plus the faculty & staff of ISU for 9 months out of the year. The Amtrack train stops there. Downtown Bloomington is the County seat and the location of the County jail. The economies of the two locations are totally different. Bloomington should accept and celebrate its identity and work with what it has instead of trying to transform to “keep up with the Jones.”

      1. Normal is paying people to live in the luxury apartments considering the deal made with Tartan. There are student apartments for the well-to-do Chicago suburbanite students…there are affordable eateries. The Town pays for all of the festivals. It is all a dog and pony show.
        The point is, Rich and other supporters of downtown redevelopment are comparing apples to oranges when comparing Bloomington and Normal.

  5. Wasn’t the Route 66 museum in the basement of the courthouse supposed to make people and business COME to downtown?

      1. But But the lines are often down the block to get into the Museum… no, wait, that’s The Castle Theater, nevermind…

      1. YES!! I know all of my European and UK friends are planning their week in BloNo as we speak – (Yes I have them, no they are not planning on spending their vacation here, the ones who have come, we went mostly to other places like Starved Rock and Shawnee National Forest and the Lincoln Museum etc) Their little “Creativity Center” or whatever it is isn’t going to be a draw either, but they are not “worldly” enough to know that – they have a VERY small world that they operate in despite their believing otherwise.

  6. I’m sorry, I’m being really snarky but I I can not stand these people. Some might argue, “But what are YOU doing? They are at least doing something!” True, but the things they do don’t work, and the way they are doesn’t allow anyone else to do anything different, and the apathy (resignation?) of the masses allows them to continue to muck everything up while patting and praising each other incessantly while pretending to be oh so smart and important and patronizing or insulting anyone who disagrees with them.

  7. JUST ask YOURSELF this! WHEN was the LAST time you said, “Let’s go UPTOWN or downtown and eat, buy shoes, shop, get groceries, etc?? The LAST GOOD thing downtown had was the milkshakes at Kreske’s!
    Want to KNOW about HOW UPTOWN and downtown treat folks that don’t kiss their butt. Just ask the man living a Fuller life! Smart folks have LEFT, the REST of us are SOON to be GONE also! Just have to save enough to buy donuts for the park rangers!

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