Cute and inviting vrs Bloomington

The tables in Champaign stay out all night, the chairs are secured in stacks on top of them.

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By:  Diane Benjamin

Tari Renner was on the radio this morning again proclaiming no city is successful without a successful downtown.  He of course learned that at the US Conference of Mayors, he’s going to another convention in 10 days.   I can’t wait to hear what he learns next!  He also mentioned he met yesterday with somebody who is going to invest MILLIONS in downtown.  I wonder how much money they will want to do it?

If Bloomington just embraced the current downtown culture instead of trying to change it, more retailers could be attracted.

The biggest problem Bloomington has is:

They don’t trust the people

Clear evidence is shown in this picture:

Patrons have to eat in a cage!

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Contrast the cage with downtown Champaign:


No Cages!

Look at the pic below. Instead of cages, silver disks are embedded in the concrete. They mark the boundaries for alcoholic drinks. Champaign trusts their citizens to stay inside the boundaries without ugly fences that only make walking downtown more difficult. Officers patrolling the area simply tell violators the rules.

These outdoor cafes are all over downtown Champaign, so are retail shops.

Where would you rather be?

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26 thoughts on “Cute and inviting vrs Bloomington

  1. Boulder is along these SAME lines, and the parking there can be updated by phone.
    Many “progressive” college towns have gone to this format, except UPTOWN, which also embraces the cage and pylons.
    Bloomington NEEDS diversity to get folks to go there. WHEN was the last time YOU went shopping DOWNTOWN.
    Heard on the news this a.m. that Sears is closing 72 stores. Any bets on Eastland?

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  2. Champaign’s downtown is way better than Bloomington’s. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there, but from what I remember it was much smaller than Bloomington’s and consisted mostly of restaurants with a few boutique shops sprinkled in.

    Bloomington’s downtown is very business heavy. I’m not quite sure why any business would want to be there (besides lawyers). It’s crowded, dirty, noisy, way too big, and has terrible parking options. Plus it has no real public green space like normals circle. The history museums lawn isn’t good. My kids can easily run out of sight and there are no barriers with the street.

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    1. Champaign is very artsy. They hold public arts and crafts fairs with producers renting booth space, draws a lot of people downtown. One really old beautiful building rents space to artists and occasionally holds open houses where people can see and buy jewelry etc and see where and how it;s made. Parking at the train/bus station is free on the weekends.

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      1. And public tax dollar investment in Champaign. PLENTY of public-private partnerships…the same thing you rail against for Normal and Bloomington. If you want a Champaign type downtown in Downtown Bloomington, the city HAS to invest in it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am in Champaign a lot on business. A pleasant comfortable inviting place that teams with all kinds of shops, places to eat and drink. Downtown Bloomington? Champaign is like a brand new Cadillac and Bloomington is like a 1993 rusting Chrysler Mini-van that you can see the road pass by, through the holes in the floorboard.

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      1. Yes it is…. I like going there. Who wants to go to downtown Bloomington? The fixation with a “catalyst projects” has been the problem all along here. A comprehensive plan that should have been started YEARS ago was not undertaken. Instead they preferred large capital intensive “magic bullet” projects that have resulted in nothing but failure and debt. It is really too late now. Downtown Bloomington is the walking dead and will not be coming back to life in the foreseeable future, if ever.

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      2. Champaign is indeed doing catalysts, including a new downtown transfer center for transit. Read up, folks. Broaden your horizons. Get out of the BLN News bubble, Larry.

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      3. Nobody does news over there, so the people have no idea their transit actually loses $30,000,000 a year. If they knew I bet they would throw a fit too. They have lots of empty buses too. Most of their riders are U of I students. Maybe U of I should be pay for it.

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      4. Did Champaign invest in their downtown? Yes, they invested wisely and the benefits are visible and working. I will quote myself from above: “The fixation with “catalyst projects” has been the problem all along here. A comprehensive plan that should have been started YEARS ago was not undertaken. Instead they preferred large capital intensive “magic bullet” projects that have resulted in nothing but failure and debt. It is really too late now.” Once again there was no comprehensive (smart) plan – just magic bullets that fed the unions and the crony system with short term windfall profits. Now we have a dead downtown that is beyond saving… The end!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m going to have to gather up my resolve and steal myself, and actually walk all over downtown Bloomington soon, it has been a LONG time. I will be perfectly honest I prefer DECATUR’S downtown to Bloomington and the Bloomington mucky mucks like to think Decatur is a pit, it’s better than DT Bloomington IMO. The “vibe” in downtown Bloomington just makes me feel almost sick and I am not sure if that is just me or if there is really something to that.

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      1. Yes they did spend a lot, but at least it has a better “vibe”, I may be jaded against Bloomington though and I will freely admit that. I also like the variety in Decatur better, and it’s far less “snobby” I get a snobby vibe from a lot of downtown Bloomington (aside form the homeless element) – like I said it’s been a while since I’ve done more than just drive through, like probably at least a year. I’ll give it a good shot in the next few days.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m going to have to gather up my resolve and steel myself, and actually walk all over downtown Bloomington soon, it has been a LONG time. I will be perfectly honest I prefer DECATUR’S downtown to Bloomington and the Bloomington mucky mucks like to think Decatur is a pit, it’s better than DT Bloomington IMO. The “vibe” in downtown Bloomington just makes me feel almost sick and I am not sure if that is just me or if there is really something to that.

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  6. Going on the radio talking about some unknown investor into downtown before they have made a choice shows how this is about him and not about the community. He wants to be in the news and break the news so the RINO’s and Democrats look like the only way for Bloomington to survive. Bloomington assessed values will be dropping since property assessments are `15 – 20 % less from all the ones I seen so far this calendar year. Everyone should challenge their assessed value on their taxes in the whole county. Maybe you can share the forms and how to word such challenges.

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      1. I have a friend who is in economic development for the city of Champaign. We have had quite of a few long conversations about a variety of topics including economic development. Let’s just say he is very smart and I respect him greatly. There is no one in either of our cities’ governments, I could talk to or would want to talk to me about economic development. The people who are in charge here are not very smart and closed to anything outside their mindsets. So we have not so smart people doing not so smart things… and it shows.

        Liked by 1 person

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