Proponents of a new Bloomington Public Library combined with a Connect Transit transfer center have a hurdle to overcome—a previous council consensus.
Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Pro Tem Karen Schmidt said she is willing to listen, but seven aldermen and Mayor Tari Renner have already signed off on improving the current site of the library.
"I have to say as a librarian (at Illinois Wesleyan University), I am absolutely delighted that people talk about the library as a catalyst project and I agree 100 percent on that. And I think it can be a catalyst right where it is. That's my personal opinion about it," said Schmidt.
Members of the Downtown Bloomington Task Force have suggested combining a new library with a transfer center and parking facility on the location of the current Market Street parking deck as a catalyst project that could lure further private development.
Earlier projects such as the U.S. Cellular Coliseum (now Grossinger Motors Arena) and Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts were also intended to spark revitalization and public buy-in to the downtown district.
Schmidt said she firmly believes the library can be an economic catalyst no matter where it is.
"For me, I think we have made the decision, but if there is enough interest in having another conversation I think we should have that with the library board and do it soon," said Schmidt.
Schmidt said the library needs to have the certainty to plan, no matter which direction the project goes.
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