Library expansion sinks, Water Park doesn’t

By:  Diane Benjamin

The expansion plans for the Bloomington Library weren’t well received by anybody on the council except Tari.  Amelia Buragas still wants to move the library claiming people want it closer to downtown.  The expansion plans presented still don’t provide enough parking according to Amelia and City Code.  Several think parking isn’t needed since transportation is changing and so many people take Uber or the bus.  Joni Painter was the voice of reason, the City doesn’t have the money.

For once they even discussed the total cost – including interest.  Usually that part is left out.  Several members stated Bloomington had lots of needs and they need prioritized.  The Library has a functional building so they aren’t high on the list.  The total cost could be over $50,000,000, not including moving Public Works.  Moving PW is estimated at $10,000,000

The current building can be repaired for around $2,000,000 – the library has that money now.  Maybe some on the Council saw yesterday’s story about traffic way down from just 4 years ago.

The library head and Board President didn’t seem to know people aren’t coming anymore.  They did claim they need more room for special events.  Events are being planned because they are trying to stay relevant.  Look at the recap on PDF page 13 showing traffic since 2013:

It didn’t sound like the Council had any appetite for raising property taxes.  Tari talked about the library floating a small bond and the City floating one.  See 57:50.  He evidently didn’t realize the payment for both comes out of the same pocketbook –  Karen Schmidt corrected him.

The ball is now in Tim Gleason’s court.  Either the library is a priority or it isn’t.  Downtown is always first, now numerous MUST have’s are fighting for the rest – if any money is left.

O’Neil Pool

It will cost $75,000 – $100,000 to open the pool next year if band-aid repairs are made.  It sounds like a one year fix only.  Parks and Rec really wants a total park rejuvenation.  The pool is losing $115,000 a year now, if they spend $10,000,000 is will only lose $75,000 a year.

Of course, its economic development.  Keep in mind the pool will only be open from Memorial Day until Labor Day.  Other parts can be open all year as weather permits.

Again, Tim Gleason has to find a funding source in the next budget.

Watch the entire discussions below:











10 thoughts on “Library expansion sinks, Water Park doesn’t

  1. Amelia is a wealthy elitist who is completely out of touch with reality. Of course, she wants a library in the Downtown. Based on my read of your summary Diane, I suspect the Bloomington City Council read and heard of the visceral reaction to the debt-financed expansion of Uptown Normal approved by the Normal Town Council. Good to see they got the message, but for how long??? Keep up the good work, Diane. And, folks, keep the heat on our so-called “leaders” in government.

  2. The library wants a bigger building. Ms Buragas wants it more downtown. Hmmm… Would anybody happen to know of a big building downtown that might be available, perhaps even at a steep discount?
    And convenient parking is irrelevant – just ask the omnificent uptown planners.

  3. So only an academic and a wealthy elitist think expanding or building a new library is a good idea. So is sanity finally working it’s way into the minds of everyone else? Across town Upscale Normal 2.0 has been signed off on… insanity still rules the day there. I am waiting for the Koos and Peterson bronze statues to be erected somewhere in their creation. So much craziness and not enough words in the dictionary to describe it.

  4. If the City of Bloomington just got rid of two of Tari’s worthless employees, Nora “knocking on my door is illegal” Dukowitz and Nikita “I campaign on the taxpayers dime and time” Richards, they could come up with the cash to keep O’Neil pool open. But obviously Tari hates westsiders and their children.

  5. I want to scream!! What is Renner talking about? What economic impact? No mention of maintenance costs for the water park. Another venue with planned losses!!

      1. They should be solving the Arena problem before even thinking about spending one more cent on any entertainment venues OR downtown. The Arena is part of downtown.

  6. “Parking isn’t needed because SO MANY people take uber or the Bus” ???? – OMG… what universe do these people live in? They no longer have any grasp at all of reality – they really DO think BloNo is some sort of urban metropolis. I suppose they think everyone else is on their bike (like THEY would like it be).

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