By: Diane Benjamin
The meeting lasted a little of an hour. Tari wasn’t there because the internet was out at his house. Mboka Mwilambwe acted as mayor. Tim Gleason was also absent, nobody said why. Maybe he didn’t want to be present when they voted on his contract extension and raise – without any discussion.
Public comment had two people in-person at City Hall and 3 on the phone. Listen to those at 7:40, the connections weren’t has painful as they have been in the past. (Can you hear me now? Are you there? etc)
One comment was emailed, there is a tab on the City website where those were posted in March, evidently now they are only available by FOIA. https://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1828
Mboka pulled approving the cannabis location but only so he could vote against it. It passed 8-1
The longest discussion was about downtown. It starts at 26:50. Several alderman think no progress has been made because it’s political. If they want to believe dumping more money down a black hole is political – so be it. Nothing Bloomington wasted money on downtown for the last 30 years has brought people back to what the Council thinks is the City core.
Jamie Mathy and Scott Black think the Market Street garage is a disgrace. Yet, that disgrace was also said to be packed with cars. Donna Boelen calls replacing the garage a capital project, not a catalyst for downtown. Of course she’s right. Think back to when the Downtown Task Force thought tearing it down to move the library and build a transfer station were a catalyst. The Coliseum wasn’t even a catalyst. Ditto the BCPA. Jamie Mathy wanted to make sure everyone knows the library isn’t moving though.
It sounds like the Council will be looking at smaller projects, it doesn’t mean those small projects won’t cost a lot of money however. Since many of the streets have been resurfaced hopefully making them fancy like below is off the table.
Jeff Crabill thinks revitalizing downtown is important for everyone. The Council fails to understand bars and lawyers go downtown. If they don’t embrace the biggest drivers nothing they do will succeed. They could end the bar scene, it will just reappear somewhere else, maybe without all the money Bloomington gets from sales. Citizens will never think of going downtown as a destination. Parking is what ended downtown, unless you can drive up close to the door nobody will go out of their way to frequent anything there when easier options are available. If the Council believes downtown residents will revitalize it, scale whatever they do to that demographic.
The Council did pass temporarily ending the party buses because of COVID. Will the kids be driving themselves downtown now? Meanwhile ISU reported zero cases yesterday: https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYWIwOWM3MjctM2Y2Mi00NjNhLTk1YjYtMzI0YmJhMWU2NzI4IiwidCI6IjA4NWY5ODNhLTBiNjktNDI3MC1iNzFkLTEwNjk1MDc2YmFmZSIsImMiOjN9
Carrillo wants to bring the hammer down on citizens to slow COVID. Scott Black thinks the Health Department should be leading. Donna Boelen pointed out the Health Department already is, nobody is reading their website.
An alarm went off on Carrillo’s phone, she left the meeting to evidently feed her dogs.
Local people who own apartments are taking a huge hit because of the eviction moratorium. It doesn’t appear they would qualify for assistance. If you own a business hurt by COVID, check it out.