The city’s mayor, John Hamilton, gave a reminder about the limited re-opening at Friday afternoon’s weekly press conference. Local leaders give updates on COVID-19 issues every Friday at 1:15 p.m. through an event live-streamed on the city’s Facebook page.
Hamilton stressed that the city is still encouraging residents who need to do business with the city to take advantage of services by phone or the city’s website, if possible.
At Wednesday’s regular meeting of Monroe County’s commissioners, another $5,000 COVID-19 relief grant was made to a tourism-related business outside Bloomington city limits, using food and beverage tax proceeds.
The breakdown for Pili’s Party Taco’s use of the $5,000 grant is: $1,800 rent; $1,200 insurance (truck and supplies); and $2,000 for employee salaries.
At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday night, the five-member Bloomington Transit board approved a two-phase reopening plan for public bus service in the city.
The plan sets June 1 as the date when something closer to a normal summer break schedule will resume.
Public buses in Bloomington have still been running during the state’s COVID-19 emergency orders, but using a modified Saturday schedule every day. That reduces the number of service hours by about half compared to normal levels this time of year.
Schedules are posted on BT’s website. Realtime bus locations, when they are running, are available through the mobile app DoubleMap.
If all the financing falls into place, a planned five-story building with up to 60 new apartments and 3,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space will start welcoming new residents to the entrance of Bloomington’s Switchyard Park off Walnut Street sometime in the summer of 2022.
Part of the financial puzzle was solved for the developer, RealAmerica Development, LLC, when Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) approved a $1 purchase agreement for the real estate. The unanimous vote came at the RDC’s regular Monday meeting.
The RDC had bought the property a couple of years ago for $800,000, which was the former location of the Night Moves strip club.
Asked to comment on the disparity between the purchase price and the appraisal the RDC had obtained on the property, city controller Jeff Underwood said it was understood the RDC would not get back the fair market value on the land deal.
The proposal from RealAmerica might not have been the biggest fiscal proposal that the RDC had received through its request for information (RFI), Underwood said. But it had all the other attributes the city was looking for, he said.
The headline to this column could provoke a reflexive response from longtime Bloomington city councilmembers. As a matter of law, they’ll say, it’s not up to them, but rather the mayor to increase the budget for Jack Hopkins social services.
From a legal point of view, I think they might be wrong.
But all nine city councilmembers and the mayor are members of the Democratic Party. So even if they’re right on the legal question, partisanship works in their favor.
Without confronting any of the typical partisan barriers that some cities might face, Bloomington’s elected officials could fund more social services.
Secretary of state Connie Lawson said on Friday that the state received the personal protection equipment (PPE) that it had ordered for election workers, using $7.5 million of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.
National Guard troops had started delivering masks, sanitizer, gloves and microfiber towels to all 92 counties the previous day, and were continuing deliveries “as I speak,” Lawson said.
Lawson said that her office had tapped Indiana sources of PPE who did not supply PPE to medical providers—to make sure her office was not depriving health care workers of needed equipment. Lawson made her remarks during Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s regular press conference on Friday.
College Mall Road south of 3rd Street looking south.
Extracted from the Bloomington’s “full build bicycle network” in the transportation plan.
Looking northeast at the intersection of Sare Road and Moores Pike.
Looking south on Sare Road. The path in the right of the frame currently veers away from the road through a wooded area. It would be extended along Sare Road as a part of a planned project.
A Wednesday meeting of the Bloomington city council’s four-member transportation committee has set up the full council for a possible animated discussion next week.
On the council’s May 20 agenda will be an item related to funding for the repaving of College Mall Road between 3rd Street and Moores Pike.
The agenda item is a hearing on an appropriation ordinance that includes the College Mall repaving. The appropriation also includes some fund transfers that are needed for a couple other transportation projects.
A lawsuit filed by Monroe County officials in federal district court on Wednesday claims that the US Forest Service violated the National Environmental Protection Act and the National Forest Management Act in its adoption of a plan to log, burn and apply herbicide to sections of the Hoosier National Forest just southeast of Monroe County.
The project activities proposed by the forest service include clear cutting about 400 acres, and some kind of tree removal from another roughly 3,000 acres. Also a part of the mix are herbicide spot treatments on about 2,000 acres. About three miles of new roads are supposed to be built along with eight miles worth of temporary roads.
The project area overlaps with part of the Lake Monroe watershed. That’s a substantial part of the objections to the project, because the lake provides drinking water to the city of Bloomington and much of the rest of Monroe County.
Monroe County’s health administrator Penny Caudill said Wednesday that last week’s local health emergency order on COVID-19 would likely be replaced at week’s end with one that allows barbershops and hair salons to re-open and restaurants to offer dine-in service, starting Saturday, May 16. [Updated: May 14, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. The order has been issued.]
The county’s current order is stricter than Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track” plan announced May 1.
The local order—which was also issued on May 1, and maintained the same kind of business closures and stay-at-home directives as the governor’s “Hunker Down, Hoosiers” order had—is set to expire at the end of the day on Friday.
The new local order is expected to be effective through May 31, Caudill said.