Touring Downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin

Yesterday I toured the downtown core with a friend.  If the pics below have spots blurred, it because a reflection was caught in the pic.  My partner wishes to remain anonymous.  The Core area is bordered by Front, East, Market, and Madison.  It’s 12 square blocks.

First, I was surprised by the number of small businesses that are downtown.  If you don’t know what is left open, I urge you to explore.  I finally know where some of the bigger names are located like Specs Around Town, Bedtime Boutique, Common Ground, new Pantagraph office, and Fox and Hounds.  There are other businesses that might be worth your time if you are adventurous.

This week on the radio Renner claimed another deal is coming.  Without revealing my source, I think it involves all the Huff buildings again.  It would be tragic for Bloomington to lose the Front & Center building, People’s Bank, and the Elks.  The building behind the Front and Center building wouldn’t be much of a loss.  The architecture in the other 3 can never be duplicated.  Since government is the only entity with money, I’m wondering if Tari is scheming for money to tear them down for the bus transfer station.  That project will be another failed attempt at creating economic activity downtown.  If he found somebody else who wants to develop the area, they will want your money.  It will be the dog and pony show part 3.

I purposely made all the pics small to save space.  Most have captions saying what they are, click on them if you want to read those.  Pics of the 4 Huff buildings:





The C11 East building looks even worse in person than other pics I’ve posted:



This is something cool to check out:

Evidently not many people want to live downtown.  There are apartments for rent signs everywhere along with business space for rent:














There are also many empty buildings with no signs at all:  (I probably missed a few)

Some other buildings made it difficult to tell if they were empty or not. The old Lancaster’s will be getting a new restaurant. A Taco place is going in across from the Law and Justice Center.

Downtown isn’t dead, there just isn’t a need to go downtown. If you go to a Farmer’s Market, take some time to walk around. If nothing else, check out the architecture of some other buildings. A cooler day would be better, there isn’t much shade.

Too bad Bloomington wasted money on entertainment venues that never show a profit.  Their economic impact numbers are pure fiction.  The leaders in Bloomington have spent decades making bad decisions.  It continues today.

7 thoughts on “Touring Downtown

  1. What I find frustrating while walking downtown in search of a specific retail shop or business is the lack of signage on the building. If the small business wants to be found, a sign over the entrance which protrudes over the sidewalk would be helpful. I don’t mind walking from a parking lot but I do mind having to scour the entire downtown in search of of my destination. There are a few businesses that do have adequate signage for pedestrians. Those are likely the most successful.
    Walkability is not about turning streets into promenades. A welcoming atmosphere can be accomplished by making things easier to find.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The boundaries of the new downtown “core” do not include the BCPA or the Arena. Interesting!


  3. I think that most of the downtown is worthless. Put the money into helping startups and businesses grow here or better yet just keep the money (the city is about to experience serious budget issues).


  4. Skunk. You bring up a VERY interesting point. one of the most IMPORTANT things that ANY business should have is CLEAR, READABLE signage. It truly amazes me how many people spend a LOT of money on their shop and buy a cheap sign, or none at all!
    Having traveled to MANY places I enjoy reading and seeing the unusual signs that painters, designers, etc come up with. and IF you go back 50 or so years, HOW MANY buildings had a BULL DURHAM, COCA COLA, etc sign on the side.. It GOT your attention, even if they DIDN’T sell Bull durham or Coca Cola.
    Murals with “rainbow colors” are ok, but there’s STILL nothing like the good OLD TIME graphics of the old signs. It’s too bad that the “gang bangers” can’t be persuaded to give up the graffiti and do really good graphic signs, which they are TOTALLY CAPABLE of! It WOULD be a step in the RIGHT direction!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. HAHA! That”s funny , seems I recall a certain business getting a good one and having it hung by a “budget” business. Wasn’t long before it come down. Maybe you can ask next time you’re at the bakery…or a council meeting…


  6. Be very careful when taking your downtown walk. My mother(84) was walking downtown and she tripped and fell on the sidewalks because of the cracks! Also, when walking on your little tour mind the old Montgomery Wards area cause I hear chunks of the building are falling willy nilly! While you are at it be careful of the homeless they tend to be downtown as well(another tourist attraction?)


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