$48K to 16 Monroe County arts groups among awards from Indiana Arts Commission

In a news release issued Monday morning, the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced 278 $3,000 awards for a total of $834,000 to arts groups across the state.

Among the awardees are 16 Monroe County arts groups.

The $48,000 that went to local groups puts Monroe County fourth behind Marion, Allen, and Hamilton counties for the total awarded.

The grant money came from IAC’s Arts Recovery Program, which draws on American Rescue Plan Act through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Additional NEA money came through Arts Midwest, Indiana’s regional partner, according to the news release.

Quoted in the news release is Lewis Ricci, Indiana Arts Commission executive director: “This funding is a recognition of the value that the creative sector provides to the economic and social health of our state and nation.” Continue reading “$48K to 16 Monroe County arts groups among awards from Indiana Arts Commission”

American Rescue Plan Act: Bloomington mayor’s initial request to city council: $3.35M for support of housing, the arts, lead pipe removal

When Bloomington mayor John Hamilton announced at a news conference in early June that some of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding would be used for housing supports, no dollar amounts were attached.

Now released as a part of the city council’s July 21 meeting information packet is a plan for spending the estimated $22.3 million in ARPA funding that the city is expected to receive through the federal legislation.

An appropriation ordinance that echoes the numbers in the ARPA plan will get a first reading at the meeting.

The ARPA is a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, to help counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing supports, at $1.65 million, are about half of the total in the initial ordinance.

The breakdown for housing is: a $1.2 million grant to the United Way of Monroe County to address homelessness and housing insecurity; a $250,000 grant to the Bloomington Housing Authority to create affordable housing options; and $200,000 to encourage participation by landlords in the federal Section 8 voucher program.

On Friday, the United Way released the report and recommendations of a working group that has been convening since last year to address the question of how to make homelessness “rare, brief and non-repeating.” [Heading Home 2021] Continue reading “American Rescue Plan Act: Bloomington mayor’s initial request to city council: $3.35M for support of housing, the arts, lead pipe removal”

Bloomington releases results of American Rescue Plan survey: 147 respondents weigh in on $22.3M

At its July 21 meeting, Bloomington’s city council could be asked by the city’s administration to take a first look at an initial appropriation ordinance for a portion of the $22.3 million that Bloomington has been awarded in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The ARPA is a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, to help counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bloomington’s initial ARPA appropriation ordinance is expected in broad strokes to fall into three kinds of housing supports: response to and prevention of homelessness; affordable housing rental supports; and affordable home ownership support.

That’s based on remarks made by Bloomington mayor John Hamilton at a press conference held in the first part of June.

In the run-up to the July 21 city council meeting, Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s administration has now released the results  of a survey of self-selected respondents promoted on Facebook and Twitter starting on June 18. Continue reading “Bloomington releases results of American Rescue Plan survey: 147 respondents weigh in on $22.3M”

Tax abatement for affordable housing project next to new park to be weighed by Bloomington city council

By December 2022, Bloomington is expecting to see completed construction of Retreat at the Switchyard, a new housing project with 48 apartments designated as affordable.

The project is a 64-unit, 5-story building with first-floor retail space at the 1.5- acre site of the former Night Moves building on South Walnut Street, next to the new Switchyard Park.

To help the project along, Bloomington’s city council will be considering a resolution at its regular meeting on Wednesday that will take the required steps to give the project a tax abatement.

The resolution would set up the relevant parcels as an economic revitalization area and would approve a 10-year abatement schedule that would waive a total of $154,370 in taxes.

The first year’s abatement would be 100 percent of the taxes owed. That percent would ratchet down over a decade, so that $175,690 in taxes will have been paid by the end of the abatement period.

Next steps, after Wednesday’s expected council action to adopt the resolution, include a public hearing that’s set for June 16. The June 16 hearing will be followed by a city council vote to confirm, amend, or rescind the resolution adopted on June 2.

Another step, before construction can start in August on Retreat at the Switchyard, is a site plan review by the city plan commission.

Also at Wednesday’s city council meeting, a report will be heard on compliance for eight other tax abatements previously granted by the city council. Continue reading “Tax abatement for affordable housing project next to new park to be weighed by Bloomington city council”

Bloomington plan commission meets on Kmart redevelopment: “Yes, it’s better. But is it good?”

At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Bloomington’s plan commission voted to continue the proposed redevelopment of the Kmart property on East Third Street to its second hearing. That is now set for June 14.

The outcome of Monday’s vote was not exactly hanging in the balance, because the 900-bedroom housing project does not include a rezone request.

That means its approval by the plan commission is “by right”—if it meets the standard conditions required in the MC (mixed-use corridor) zoning district. It also means that the project does not need approval from the city council. Continue reading “Bloomington plan commission meets on Kmart redevelopment: “Yes, it’s better. But is it good?””

Monroe County, Bloomington start with different angles on American Rescue Plan process

On Tuesday night, at separate meetings, Bloomington and Monroe County’s governments took their first step towards sorting through a spending plan for a local total of about $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

The ARPA is a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, to help counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bloomington and Monroe County estimated shares of the ARPA are about $22.3 million and $28.8 million, respectively. Continue reading “Monroe County, Bloomington start with different angles on American Rescue Plan process”

Bloomington budget advance session swapped out for talk about American Rescue Plan, same time as separate county meeting

Historically, April’s annual “budget advance” for Bloomington’s city council has been an occasion when councilmembers sketch out their aspirations for the next budget year.

The idea is to try to influence the mayor’s budget proposal, which is presented in August.

Based on “city council” by Thomas Deckert from the Noun Project

This year’s budget advance was set for April 27 at 6 p.m., when the city council adopted its calendar for the year.

Now, instead of using that slot on the next week’s calendar for the budget advance, Bloomington’s city council will use the time to get an initial briefing from mayor Hamilton’s administration on the city’s estimated $22-million share of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) .

Also on Tuesday (April 27), the county council and the county commissioners are convening a joint work session about ARPA  funding. The county’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.

The estimated Monroe County share of the total $1.9-trillion federal package is about $29 million.

The announcement about the change in topic for next Tuesday’s city council session came from council administrator/attorney Stephen Lucas towards the end of Wednesday’s regular city council meeting. Continue reading “Bloomington budget advance session swapped out for talk about American Rescue Plan, same time as separate county meeting”