It was held on Wednesday at the Monroe Convention Center.
The revenue report for the county’s five-percent innkeeper’s tax showed a a 55-percent increase for the first two months of 2023 compared to the first two months of last year.
Mike McAfee, who’s executive director of Visit Bloomington, described the current state of planning for the solar eclipse next year. The narrow band of the full solar eclipse will pass right over Bloomington just a little over a year from now, on April 8, 2024.
One glumly received point of information was the status of the convention center expansion project, which still has not moved forward as hoped.
The stops for 7th Street traffic at Morton, Lincoln, Washington, Grant, and Dunn streets were removed, but those for the north-south side streets were left in place.
The elimination of the stops was meant to encourage the use of the east-west corridor by cyclists.
Now with a year’s worth of crash data in hand after the opening of the 7-Line, Bloomington’s city engineer Andrew Cibor is recommending that the five stop signs be reinstalled.
The reinstallation of the stop signs would have to be approved by the city council. Before the city council considers the engineer’s recommendation, two of the city’s advisory boards are supposed to weigh in—the bicycle and pedestrian safety commission (BPSC) and the traffic commission.
On Monday, the BPSC unanimously rejected the idea that all five stop signs should be reinstalled. But the BPSC unanimously supported reinstallation of the 7th Street stop signs at Dunn Street.
Just after the first of the year, the three Monroe County commissioners made a trip to Arizona to have a look at jail facilities there.
The trip came in connection with the work of the community justice response committee (CJRC), which is the group the commissioners established to address the work of two consultants, which was released to the county government about 20 months ago.
The report described Monroe County’s jail as having “far exceeded its structural and functional life cycle” and pointed to a failure of the current jail to meet Constitutional standards of care.
At the CJRC’s first meeting this year, just after the Arizona field trip, other committee members voiced their dissatisfaction with the lack of a heads-up given about their trip by the commissioners. One source of complaint: Had other members of the committee known, they might have been able to send along specific questions to be asked.
Commissioners told other committee members they would report out on what they’d seen in Arizona. The contentious character of the next few committee meetings meant that the report on the Arizona trip did not get addressed until this Monday.
County councilor Jennifer Crossley is a member of the CJRC. As Crossley put it at Monday’s committee meeting, “This has been like the moment we’ve all been waiting for…”
It was a move that put a significant sum behind the city’s preferred site for the planned expansion of the Monroe Convention Center. But it came with at least some amount of controversy for what was supposed to be a city-county collaboration.
For some of the actors involved in convention center planning at the time, it had been an open question: Should the expansion be located north or south of the existing convention center at 3rd Street and College Avenue? The city’s purchase appeared to be an attempt to settle that question.
The price tag was just under the $5-million statutory threshold that would have required the city council’s approval. And the deal still did not put the whole block under the city’s control.
The city was still negotiating with a different property owner for the remaining 0.4 acres, which consists of about 45 surface parking spaces.
Now, Bloomington’s RDC is set to buy the remaining part of the block.
The first live ballots are now headed into the hands of voters in Bloomington’s May 2 municipal primary election.
On Thursday and Friday, absentee ballots were sent to the 28 registered voters who have requested them so far. That’s based on the absentee voter list distributed by Monroe County election division staff.
Over the next few weeks, more absentee ballots will be sent to those who qualify, as more voters request them.
The Democratic Party’s primary will almost certainly select Bloomington’s mayor, city clerk and city council for the next four years. Just one Republican, Brett Heinisch for city council District 3, has declared a candidacy this year.
Davis had previously appeared before the board to appeal a total of $200 in fines imposed for the city’s notices of violations, saying that the materials that are stacked around his property are not garbage, but rather building materials and tools. They’re needed for the kind of active construction site he is overseeing, he has said.
That’s the position that Davis has outlined in a tort claim that he has sent to the city. The claim is against the city of Bloomington, the HAND department, the department of public works, and the board of public works.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Monroe County sheriff Ruben Marté released an update on efforts to clean up the jail facility.
The emailed update was sent to county councilors, county commissioners, members of the community justice response committee, and several other community members.
The update included a link to several before-after photos of: J Block, which is the jail’s new mental health dormitory; the intake room; and the sally port, which is where prisoners are taken into the jail.
Monroe County sheriff Ruben Marté (March 6, 2023).
President of the Monroe County Democratic Black Caucus, Nicole Bolden (March 6, 2023).
Monroe County councilor Jennifer Crossley at the March 14, 2023 council meeting.
Monroe County councilor Kate Wiltz at the March 14, 2023 council meeting.
A new position at Monroe County’s jail has been created to support new sheriff Ruben Marté’s effort to make the jail clean and sanitary, and to keep it that way.
At their regular Tuesday meeting, county councilors voted unanimously in favor of creating a new job called “jail facility coordinator.” It will be paid on par with guards. It will report directly to the sheriff.
Bloomington board of public works from left: Jennifer Lloyd, Elizabeth Karon, Kyla Cox Dexard.
From the Turning Point application to paint a street mural.
For now at least, a proposed mural that says “All Lives Matter” will not be painted on Kirkwood Avenue just west of Indiana Avenue in downtown Bloomington.
Bloomington’s three-member board of public works has unanimously denied a special events application from Turning Point USA at Indiana University, to paint such a mural on the weekend of April 7 and 8.
The denial came at the board’s regular Tuesday meeting, after about 20 minutes worth of public comment, all of it opposed to the approval of the application to paint the mural.
The public commentary in opposition was based mostly on the fact that the “All Lives Matter” slogan is associated with opposition to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
When it came time for a vote, the board didn’t deliberate on the question.
But when the item was put in front of the board, the basis for the denial was laid out by city attorney Mike Rouker: The proposed mural is for permanent or semi-permanent art (intended to last more than seven days), and it includes “speech.”
The inclusion of “words, letters, numbers, or universally recognized symbols, or logos of any kind” for a permanent art installation put the proposed ALM mural in conflict with the city’s new policy on art installations by private entities in the public right of way.