Wheeler Mission shelter rezone request gets nod from Bloomington plan commission, now goes to city council

A request for a rezoning of Wheeler Mission’s property on Westplex Avenue off 3rd Street won an 8–1 recommendation of approval from Bloomington’s plan commission at the group’s regular monthly meeting on Monday.

Dissenting on the vote was Israel Herrera. The request now goes to the city council, which will have 90 days to either approve or reject the proposal. If the council takes no action, the outcome is automatic approval.

The rezone, from mixed-use employment (ME) to mixed-use medium scale (MM), is being requested so that Wheeler Mission can expand its programs by moving some of its shelter beds to a parcel that it acquired in May of this year.

Dana Jones, director of Wheeler Mission Ministries, told plan commissioners the expansion of program space does not mean an expansion of bed capacity. The idea is to return to the same capacity as in pre-pandemic times, which is 130 beds.

Programs for which there would be more space, if the rezone request is approved, include life skills training, financial management and job readiness.

Public commentary during the plan commission’s meeting came from surrounding business owners, who described the impact they’ve seen from the behavior of some Wheeler Mission shelter guests.

Continue reading “Wheeler Mission shelter rezone request gets nod from Bloomington plan commission, now goes to city council”

Seminary Park encampment not yet cleared, chance comes up for 50 more shelter beds

Reduced in number but remaining in place on Monday night, was Bloomington’s Seminary Park encampment of people who are experiencing homelessness.

The enforcement action, which Bloomington’s city administration had warned would come “on or about Jan. 11” looks like it might be taken about Jan. 11, not exactly on the date.

As of around 1 a.m. no action had been taken by the Bloomington police department (BPD) to remove anyone from the park.

The apparent lack of enforcement action at Seminary Park came after the late afternoon news of possibly 50 additional shelter beds that might become available.

Beacon, Inc. executive director Forrest Gilmore said on Facebook that he’d walked the city’s fire chief, Jason Moore, through a warehouse space that Gilmore described as looking like a viable low barrier winter shelter. Continue reading “Seminary Park encampment not yet cleared, chance comes up for 50 more shelter beds”