What is Bloomington doing to get you downtown?

By: Diane Benjamin

Bloomington has a calendar of events. Meetings are listed, but so are other events like Ice Cream at the Zoo and BCPA events. https://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/calendar

Missing are the Farmers Markets which actually do get people downtown on Saturday mornings. Also missing are Saturdays on the Square.

In case you missed the 2013 extensive downtown study, see it here: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument/26747/637628727660670000

Start with page 64. The YMCA was thought to be the next great catalyst project. Next year they will be moving to their new facility on the east side. The DBA (Downtown Bloomington Association) no longer exists, the City took it over because businesses weren’t participating. The Way-Finding signs were recommended in this document.

Try searching cityblm.org for Saturdays on the Square. You won’t find anything, at least not near the top of the results.

That didn’t stop the City from paying $21,400 for them. That amount covered 4 Saturdays of musical performances at $5,350 each.

I FOIA’d these payments. They are to the Castle Theater in Bloomington for arranging each. I don’t know what time of day each happened or how long each performance lasted. $5,350 each is all the information I have. If you attended, please comment with the missing pieces.

Think hard, who else pays musicians to get people to their downtown? That would be Normal, the only difference is what they call theirs.

We have no economic impact numbers for Normal. If ISU kids are the ones attending that doesn’t bring anybody to Uptown, they are already in the area.

Does Bloomington have any economic impact numbers? “Searching” would be fruitless!

Did hundreds or thousands attend? Did they shop downtown? Do people who attend the Farmer’s Market shop downtown?

Maybe Bloomington should work on all those buildings that have been vacant for decades instead of trying to create reasons to be downtown. See the previous story: https://blnnews.com/2021/10/04/pre-covid-downtown-bloomington/

What’s a good word for just copying what Normal does?

At least the money went to a local business!








8 thoughts on “What is Bloomington doing to get you downtown?

  1. Oh, so they paid the money to Rory O’Connor at the Castle. Oh the connections one discovers. Very interesting.

    1. It’s the Bloomington-Normal way. The Tilton’s and the Wollrab’s have been doing the same thing for years. First, the crime problem throughout the entire community needs to be addressed. Next, a private contractor should be found that would buy most of the properties for pennies and the dollar, then have a bulldozer party. That would be a start. By the way, go to other farmers markets in other communities and you will quickly realize what a joke that event is as well in quality and price of product.

  2. Another Viewpoint:
    cob is in charge of the white elephant with no entertainment venues – –
    The Castle has the connections and get live music from out of town that draw large numbers from the community and outside the community – $21,400 is miniscule to the dollars being burned by the city.
    & there’s the ton that pays locals.
    I am and have always been a supporter of small businesses along with buy local – – but I truly believe that The Castle creates much more than the ton’s entertainment $.

  3. How about the CoN and ToN stop dictating what entertainment is best for us with the same money they take from the us. I would rather have lower taxes and use that money for entertainment I like.

  4. Downtown sucks!! Why do we keep pouring money into it. Can’t even go out on break without being stalked for money or a cigarette. Stop kicking the homeless out of their “cities” would be a start. We now have someone camped out on side of our building.

  5. We attended one of the concerts by the North Mississippi All Stars. Ate at one of the local establishments before the concert, bought some drinks. All in all a well attended outdoor show. The City partnered with WGLT and the Castle to bring these shows. There were several throughout the summer with at least four, maybe five on the square and some others held indoors.

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