By: Diane Benjamin
Obviously Connect Transit isn’t building a simply downtown transfer station with your tax dollars. Those State and Federal grants they received are TAX dollars even though that term is never used. All a transfer station needs are lanes for buses to enter and exist and some building to protect riders who are waiting.
Of course the cost of tearing down whatever is built on their chosen location has to be taken into account. Two of their choices will do nothing to beautify downtown:
- The old Pantagraph building isn’t centrally located. Putting the station there hides it and makes riders walk a long way to the Law and Justice Center or the Library. Both have been promoted as why riders go downtown. Since that building is on the western edge of downtown, it won’t help get rid of any eyesores.
- The Market Street parking deck is a location Bloomington has been trying to destroy and rebuild for years. Does the $18 million include funds to build it somewhere else? Is the real plan creating a new transfer center and parking garage combo? If that location is picked does Bloomington have to fork over money too? Again, riders wanting to go to the two top destinations have to walk many blocks.
The third location, the old CII East building, gets rid of an eyesore on the main road into downtown from the south. It is also centrally located between the library and the Law and Justice Center. That is the obvious choice unless the guy who owns it thinks it’s worth millions. The owner is Devyn Corporation – aka David Bentley. The building is appraised for property taxes around $500,000 so he shouldn’t think it’s worth much more than that. This location would improve the looks of downtown only because an abandoned building would be gone.
Putting the transfer station where CII East is has another benefit. City of Bloomington staff have no excuse for not riding the bus they insist you ride and subsidize. It would be less than a block from where they work!
What government projects will appear next to get rid of other empty downtown buildings? It appears nobody in the private sector is interested. Why wasn’t the Front and Center building a finalist? People’s Bank? Will buses still drop people at the Law and Justice Center if one of the remote locations is chosen?
(We are talking government, that shouldn’t be a surprise)