Road Trip to Ward 1

By: Diane Benjamin

The neighborhood I went to yesterday is East of Evergreen Cemetery. It is adorable with many of the homes rehabbed which proves these residents care about their community. Many American flags were flying and lots of dogs where being walked.

This community also had basements wrecked with raw sewage. It wasn’t a 100 year event, it happened twice a week apart in the early 80’s, again in the late 90’s, and two days in a row last June. I spoke to residents who lost everything they had in their basements. These people actually use their basements, they had spent a lot of money making them beautiful. It’s now gone. Does the City realize their property values declined?

Long time residents have been told for decades the sewers would be fixed. Nothing has been done, the smell of sewer gas permeates the neighborhood for many blocks.

Alderman Donna Boelen went with me, we were told by many residents Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy has a problem returning phone calls.

Raw sewage isn’t the only problem. The corner below was the scene of an accident TWO YEARS AGO. The fire hydrant doesn’t have any dirt around the base. The sidewalk was damaged and never fixed. The barricades are now covered in viney weeds. The road grate was stuffed with leaves, evidently the locals have to clean those.

But there is more. These pictures are of a hole that formed in the road during the June floods. It keeps expanding. The barricade is still there, but fixing it evidently isn’t a priority. How big does it have to get? Is the barricade a permanent addition to the neighborhood like the two above?

One more problem. The area has been plagued with crime to homes and vehicles. The alley below needs a light, the City owns it. One resident was told it would be illegal for the residents to do it themselves:

Maybe Jamie can make it to this part of his Ward and help these people. The entire area just wants to know when the sewers will be fixed. I don’t see how the retention basin at the library is going to help them, water runs downhill directly at their homes from multiple directions. The library retention pond is even farther downhill. Basements had raw sewage even if they were on higher ground than neighbors because of the pressure in the system since sewage and storm water are together.

The City is receiving MILLIONS of DOLLARS in COVID relief. That money must be spent on fixing the health hazards in this neighborhood. How the Council decides to spend this money will PROVE who cares about citizens and who just wants “progress” to utopia as they see it.

I will be watching the self proclaimed progressive Jamie Mathy.

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8 thoughts on “Road Trip to Ward 1

  1. It appears that Diane is the only investigative journalist in the state of Illinois. And Jamie Mathy is yet another limousine liberal carpetbagger only interested in spending taxpayer money to bring more business to his dive in downtown Bloomington.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As a Ward 1 resident, property owner, taxpayer and voter I certainly agree with you and those Ward 1 residents you spoke with about the seeming lack of interest that Ward 1 Alderman Mathy presents. Ward 1 has some of the worst street conditions in Bloomington. Did you see any Ward 1 street repairs underway? Former Mayor Renner spoke to our subdivision before his initial election in 2016, promising the repair our streets. Just recently, the City filled a few potholes on my street which indicates several more years before the Renner promise comes to fruition.

    That said, I have no empathy for the Ward 1 residents that have known for years and years that water and sewer problems are an existing condition. Those residents that choose to self insure and/or refuse to spend a few $$ for sewer back up coverage under their HO policy made that decision. Their water/sewer damage is on them. Don’t come to me for my tax $$ . Your photos indicate there is an apparent lack of HO common sense in the area, with individuals to apathetic to to uncover storm sewer drains, not that such an effort would help with their water/sewer back up issues. Don’t expect the City to act. They have more important progressive, socialists issues to contend with..

    Ward 1 residents can bet their last dollar that the Steve Scudders of the world won’t be changing the property assessments in this area anytime soon. With the local real estate frenzy, people will pay over the current appraised values and probably won’t bother for a home inspection that details water/sewer issues in these neighborhoods. Up goes the RE tax assessment for new owners and still the City does nothing.

    I realize that anytime a request is made to the City for fire hydrant, street and sidewalk repairs, it is at least a 3 years project, but I didn’t see any comments in your article by you or area residents regarding current request status.

    Perhaps Ward 1 residents should elect someone like Mollie Ward. She can provide hopes and prayers. I’m sure that will help with cleanup recovery and financial relief!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As the former Ward 1 alderman, the city has been more than aware of these issues for decades. The real issue stems from the “sustainable progressive “ ideology most of those currently elected hold. It has very little to do with actually representing the needs of the citizens or the city.

    Bloomington should have been investing in these repairs for decades past. It will now take decades to pay for and accomplish the real infrastructure needs even if we do start now.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Not sure why people are knocking Jamie Mathey. No one ran against him. The problem is people would rather complain than actually do something to make the situation better…like run for office themselves.

    Like

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