Rosie’s, Market Street Parking Gargage

By:  Diane Benjamin This is Rosie’s on Front Street.  Your thoughts? Have you seen cute downtown seating outside in other cities?   (without the corral?) These pics are of the Market Street garage the City wants torn down.  They were sent by a reader who doesn’t see what the problem is.  The City did spend money […]

Downtown Downtown Downtown!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Council thinks they can make downtown a destination.  The Coliseum and the BCPA were supposed to do the same thing. Since the Council spent close to two hours last night discussing beautification and streets, it proves the MILLIONS already spent have failed. There were some tiny shreds of fiscal responsibility when […]

Bloomington Library facts

By:  Diane Benjamin The City Manager has issued a report for February.  The library stats posted for 2018 are not the same stats used in 2017, so I took the ones that can be compared and turned them into a chart. 2018 Library facts:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16111 2017 Library facts:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=12434 The library wasn’t included in the […]

Another TIF – “Right Fit”

By:  Diane Benjamin Tax Increment Financing (TIF)  districts were meant to redevelop blighted areas.  They divert all increases in property taxes to the City and then to the developers.  The taxes are diverted FROM all other taxing bodies like schools, library, county, township, etc. Downtown Bloomington had a long term TIF that expired a couple […]

Another one bites the dust

By:  Diane Benjamin Downtown Bloomington is dead.  The only people who don’t understand that were elected by the people who didn’t bother to vote last April.  The Coliseum and the Cultural District failed to revitalize downtown.  When will the Council quit throwing money away?  When you change who is on the Council!

State Farm is leaving downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard from a reliable source that State Farm is not  remodeling their downtown Bloomington building.  It will be empty in mid January. Grand Cafe is not going to re-open. Maybe you can help compile a list of businesses no longer downtown. Lancasters Chocolatier Mueller, Reece & Hinch Attorneys Who else? Anybody open  […]

Who got TIF money?

By:  Diane Benjamin Continuation from this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/12/26/lets-talk-tifs/ Who got money to improve their properties: 215 E Douglas – E Douglas Apartments.  The owner of 215 E Douglas is listed in the County Assessor’s office as Mike Manna. Illinois House – 201-213 W. Jefferson Ralph Turner, partner in the Darrell Hartweg Law firm 408 W Washington […]

Let’s talk TIF’s

By:  Diane Benjamin If you don’t understand that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a slush fund for government friends, the Town and Normal and the City of Bloomington will continue to use them to funnel money to people they want to fund.  The theory is the money will be recovered with increasing property tax values […]

Christmas: Downtown vrs Uptown

by:  Diane Benjamin Both Bloomington and Normal are bankrupting their towns and citizens with Utopian dreams.  The difference is Normal spent taxpayer money where people can see it, Bloomington threw money away on a failing Coliseum and heavily subsidized BCPA. The difference is obvious when you look at the Christmas decorations the towns put up.  […]

Tari’s Town Hall

By:  Diane Benjamin I almost feel sorry for Tari.  Citizens who disagree with actions of the City and Tari were pretty furious last night.  I’m sure by the end Tari was ready for it to be over.  I expect his next event to be stacked with a lot more supporters. Schedule:   12/12 – 5:30 – […]

Even State Farm doesn’t want to be downtown?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve received several reports from citizens about State Farm leaving their building in downtown Bloomington.  One person just commented they are in the process of moving out the last group now. When did the evacuation start? Why isn’t that public knowledge? Did the Bloomington City Council know? Is the City of Bloomington  […]

It takes guts!

By:  Diane Benjamin Your elected aldermen in Bloomington really have guts!  On the same day they found out at least $1 Million was stolen from you – they voted to slap higher sewer and storm water rates on the victims of their ineptness!  Yes, that would be Bloomington taxpayers. The conversation was really amusing.  Scott […]

The Downtown Setup

By:  Diane Benjamin You already know that Tari Renner’s handpicked committee doesn’t represent the interest of anybody outside their tiny group who think downtown is the future.  (Decades of facts to the contrary are immaterial)   https://blnnews.com/2017/05/03/taris-downtown-task-force/ I know you don’t need proof, but: You can see what they have been up to here:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-552 I […]

Today was Park(ing) Day!

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/09/13/it-keeps-getting-funnier/ Just who was this day for? The kids are in school.  People are at work, so did they expect the downtown lawyers and staff to love the idea of losing parking spots? Should San Francisco stay in California?  I wonder if Bloomington is trying to compete with Uptown […]

Implosion – Downtown Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari’s Downtown Task Force mostly consists of people who had their hand out for your money and Council people dying to give them more.  The entire rest of Bloomington has no representation.  Maybe that’s why moving the library and adding a bus transfer point got shredded at the meeting Monday night.  See […]

Sage shows up, ’bout time

By:  Diane Benjamin David Sage decided to have an opinion last night, but the media probably missed it.  It didn’t happen during the regular meeting – it happened during aldermen comments before adjourning. What was Sage outraged about?  Moving the library!  He pulled the minutes of the joint Library/Council meeting in June (that wasn’t live […]

Dream Big!

By:  Diane Benjamin   Monday night the Council has bills to pay, massive pension payments to approve, and a little misc stuff.  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14583 See page 285. A consultant came up with a “Branding Concept” for downtown: . That means signs:   Payment to KMA design of $62,190 was approved in 2016, Monday they get another […]

Downtown smells

By:  Diane Benjamin Last week I received this email from a patron of a downtown Bloomington business: When I drove down Main Street today, I noticed that several businesses had their doors wide open.  I made a comment to an employee at the locale where I was conducting my business about the nice weather outside.  […]

Tari’s Downtown Task Force

By:  Diane Benjamin The Budget Task Force was ignored, so I have no idea why Tari is organizing another task force for downtown. More interesting is who he appointed: Justin Boyd – Tari’s campaign chairman Tricia Stiller – head of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) that was supposed to be self-sufficient years ago.  They still […]

Maybe Hauman and Renner can split the vote!

By:  Diane Benjamin There are people in Bloomington who don’t care what high taxes under Tari Renner are doing to the poor.  How many Bloomington residents know the City DOUBLED the amount landlords pay to register properties?  Who is hurt?  Renters – the poor.  If any members of the Council complain about high rents so […]

Coliseum: Just THIS year’s costs

By: Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph has a ridiculous editorial today urging the City to spend spend spend on downtown.  They must not realize with building the Coliseum and covering the losses, rehabbing the BCPA, and with the TIF dollars from the past – Bloomington is probably close to spending $100,000,000.  Don’t forget to add the […]

“Planners” destroying Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Nothing citizens said at the Citizen’s Summit mattered. Nothing Bring It On Bloomington said mattered either. The Budget Task Force was a joke. The Downtown Stakeholders meeting held last night was equally for show, except the City most likely bought the food that was served. The stakeholders nixed a downtown hotel!  Therefore, […]

UPDATE: Anybody see a problem:

There is yet another meeting tonight – again not on the City Calendar.  It is on the Home page of the City website:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=18&recordid=3777&returnURL=%2findex.aspx It is about Hamilton Road.  Interested parties should attend.  This one starts at 5:00 at Prairie Vista.  The only meeting on the calendar is Citizens Beautification. By:  Diane Benjamin This meeting […]

Thumbtacks

By:  Diane Benjamin This morning a local radio host tried to blame anti-bike lane folks for the thumbtacks on the road that interrupted the downtown bike race last weekend.  I won’t embarrass him by saying who. Changed my mind – he just said it again:  Scott Laughlin. People who oppose bike lanes do so because […]

NOW: Tonight’s meeting

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph has been running this ad on Facebook: I will wait for you to stop laughing! waiting . . . waiting . . . Today an entire article is devoted to praising the City of Bloomington’s for closing last year under budget. Some things they meant to mislead you about: (tonight:  […]

Guest Editorial

The Pantagraph never says who writes theirs, so I’m not either!  It was written by a citizen sick of seeing tax dollars wasted. DOWNTOWN Bloomington The citizens of Bloomington have heard on multiple occasions the Mayor’s proclamations, “Without a vibrant downtown, economic development will not occur.” “A vibrant downtown is the primary means to spur […]

The downtown dance

  I need reader support to continue bringing you news the rest of the media ignores: Contribute Now If you appreciate the truth, please contribute!     By:  Diane Benjamin Last night’s Committee of the Whole had a missing alderman:  Scott Black. Two citizens spoke during public comment.  In an attempt to limit free speech, […]

ADA Non-Compliance

By:  Diane Benjamin Making sidewalks ADA compliant is expensive.  However, it’s a total waste of money if people with disabilities have to traverse trash and mud, not to mention standing water when it can’t drain. The Downtown Bloomington Association isn’t bothered by this?  Downtown merchants?  

Court Update

By:  Diane Benjamin Making a trip downtown requires pics of almost empty buses – so here’s a couple: Speaking of downtown, the law firm representing the former Coliseum Manager is moving to Hershey Road.  They are leaving downtown because parking, accessibility for clients, and space issues made it difficult to stay in their current location.   […]

Renner’s folly

By:  Diane Benjamin Review of the downtown hotel timeline: May 2015 Jeff Giebelhausen wants the City to pay $8.2 million for “shovel ready” land.  He wanted a fast answer – he claimed his option for the land had a time limit. It failed to get support of the Council. The proposal included tearing down the […]

Renner’s downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin Renner isn’t responding to the market, he’s trying to create one.  Just like he claims bike paths and buses are the future, he continues to claim Bloomington’s future is downtown.  Decades of massive spending haven’t been enough. Here’s a little Renner history.  Not included are the Downtown Streetscape Plan and the Downtown […]

15 minutes causes carnage

By:  Diane Benjamin Power was out in downtown Bloomington for about 15 minutes yesterday.  From the news reports carnage ensued as businesses shut down unable to cope. 15 minutes! As the State of Illinois continues to operate without a budget, worst carnage is happening. Businesses haven’t been paid which means they can’t pay their employees, […]

Budget: Entertaining you!

By:  Diane Benjamin Quality of Life?  it’s not if you can’t afford to live here or participate! Details for anything listed as Total are in this document  FY 2017 Budget Detail  It’s searchable, so any item is easy to find. Much of the below is what Bloomington spends to entertain you.  I’m purposely not including […]

Media setting you up

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph has a long history of “floating” ideas fed to them from local government.  It’s always the first step in making happen what government wants to happen.  Watchdogs they aren’t.  The last example was “sharing sales tax” – first mentioned in the paper and expanded since. Sunday more ideas were floated […]

Thoughts on sharing Sales Tax

By:  Diane Benjamin If you don’t pay attention to how Normal and Bloomington operate, once they start talking publicly about anything it’s already a done deal.  Both Councils are stacked, so Renner and Koos can easily talk them into the latest declared “best practice”.  Independent thoughts are too rare matter.  Have some lunch. Here’s what […]

Tari: Think outside the box

By:  Diane Benjamin Practically since Tari became mayor, the citizens have been told the Front and Center building can’t be saved.  Now Jeff Giebelhausen thinks it can be a hotel. Here’s the problems: Hotels and convention centers are a dime a dozens.  Spend time on Google and see all the failures. Bloomington has convention centers:  […]

Renner thinks he’s a developer

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington has a long record of making bad deals.  MILLIONS were thrown away on an unused Fire Station.  Probably MILLIONS more were thrown away on an unused water tower – someday I may FOIA the actual cost.  The Coliseum is a disaster sold to citizens as never costing a […]