Economic Development | WGLT

Economic Development

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

An author who chronicles the effects of globalization on food and clothing is urging the public to become more informed.

Unit Five Questions Proposed Low Income Housing Location

Jun 13, 2017
Google

Unit Five Schools has helped postpone a decision on a low-income housing development in southwest Bloomington. The city council is asking for a financial impact study.

'BN Advantage' Works To Build BN Excitement

Jun 6, 2017
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Normal has a lot going for it in the competition for a stable and perhaps growing economy. That's according to the head of the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives. Mick Fleming spoke during a B-N Advantage event at the Rivian Automotive Plant.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Developers of the Grove subdivision and other community stakeholders are pushing back against the idea the City of Bloomington should not oversize a sewer line for an undeveloped area north of the Grove.

Opposition to the $300,000 project stems from a desire to return to compact development.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

A potential multi-sports complex on Bloomington-Normal's west side could top $50 million in public-private investment.

In an interview  for GLT's Sound Ideas, Katie Kim of the Kim Group, a developer working with landowner Dave Stark on a multi-use sports complex in Bloomington-Normal, said she continues to meet with stakeholders.

McLean County Museum of History

Route 66 Tourism grew by 50 percent in Bloomington last year.

That's according to attendance figures for the Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center in the McLean County Museum of History.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

McLean County and state and federal elected leaders hope a bike trail will eventually extend from the northern border to the south end of McLean County.

On Wednesday they dedicated a new eight mile stretch of the Constitution Trail extending along Route 66 from Normal to Towanda. U.S. Representative Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) said he is sponsoring a bill to make Route 66 a national historic trail.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The face of retail is changing drastically, but there is still a place for brick and mortar stores. That's according to Rob Karr, the head of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Karr spoke in Normal before the Economic Development Council saying there are parallels with the past in the way technology is changing retail.

Staff / WGLT

Normal Town Council candidates said they find the idea of combining the Bloomington and Normal public libraries an intriguing one.

At a GLT candidates forum held at ISU's University Galleries, candidate Chemberly Cummings embraced a question about merging library services rather than building a new library in Uptown South in Normal and an expansion in downtown Bloomington.

Staff / WGLT

The closure of Macy's in Eastland Mall is a symbol of retail upheaval nationwide according to Bloomington City Council candidates in wards one, five, and seven.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner hopes Rivian Automotive will help boost employment in central Illinois.

Rauner joined many state and local elected officials at Rivian's opening ceremony Tuesday afternoon. Rauner said he's excited to see entrepreneurs like R.J. Scaringe take risks to start business in Illinois.

Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal has fired a broadside at the City of Bloomington over its decision to try to terminate the Metro Zone agreement.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Alderman Diana Hauman is breaking with Mayor Tari Renner over the Metro Zone agreement.

Renner supports dissolving the partnership with Normal covering taxes, services, and infrastructure on the west side of town.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington and Normal dispute over the Metro Zone agreement on tax revenue and infrastructure sharing is not necessarily a black eye for the community.

That's according to Kyle Ham, the head of the Economic Development Council.

Girls celebrating on soccer field
Photo courtesy of Fusion Soccer Club

The head of the Bloomington School District is opposed to a community soccer or multi-sports complex. Such a complex has had on again off again discussion for years.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Downtown revitalization figured strongly in answers during the GLT Bloomington Mayoral candidates forum.

Alderman Kevin Lower said during the event at Illinois State University's University Galleries, the city is not paying enough attention to the periphery of the community.

Rutgers University

In the era of smart phones and smart cars, empowering women can be a gender smart way to achieve economy wide gains.

That's according to this year's Eckley lecturer at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Nelson Pavlovsky / Flickr

As central Illinois leaders try to assess the magnitude of Caterpillar, Incorporated's announcement they are moving top corporate leadership to the Chicago area, there are no sure answers.

Kyle Ham heads the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council.

Karen Stauffer

The Mayoral race in the town of Normal is in one sense a referendum on a whole slew of town council decisions to stimulate development and work on the quality of life.

Staff / WGLT

The CEO of Rivian Automotive calls the community surrounding the Mitsubishi Plant "something special." 

Staff / WGLT

Skepticism and opposition surfaced quickly on social media after economic incentives were announced to attract Rivian Automotive to the former Mitsubishi auto manufacturing plant.  The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, the Town of Normal, and Mayor Chris Koos helped lead the effort to pass an incentive package which includes property tax abatements from area taxing bodies. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

There has been a surge of small business optimism coming out of the presidential election. That's according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist J.D. Foster.

Foster said small businesses have been reluctant to invest and hire because of policies coming from the Obama administration. Foster said businesses feel the federal government won't be such an oppressive force under President Elect Donald Trump. 

The Mayor of Normal said twin cities officials checked into negative news reports about Rivian Automotive and there is nothing there.

Koos made the case for proceeding with a million dollar cash grant and five year tax abatement to encourage Rivian to buy the former Mitsubishi plant.

Rivian Automotive.

State and Bloomington-Normal Economic Development officials have found a probable buyer for the former Mitsubishi Auto plant.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Circumstances on the existing plot of land targeted for a Portillo's requires public participation to draw the restaurant that is one of "the most talked about things in the last 3 or 4 months in the community," according to the Town of Normal Mayor.

Google

Oakbrook, IL based food chain Portillo's will be located on a lot currently occupied by a Motel 6.

The restaurant, serving Chicago-style food, will build along Parkway Plaza Drive, between Landmark Drive and Veterans Parkway in Normal. 

The Town of Normal Council is expected to address the Portillo's development on Monday evening. Council will vote on an incentive package rebating $1.825 million dollars in sales tax revenue over approximately 7 years.  

Fruin Not Running For Re-election

Oct 24, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Alderman Jim Fruin recieved a standing ovation following his announcement that he will retire from representing Ward 9. Fruin made the announcement at Monday's council meeting. He said he'll finish up his term that ends in April.

Renner Re-establishing Cuban Sister Cities

Oct 19, 2016
Tari Renner

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner flew south last week to reconnect with Caibarien, Cuba and Remedios, Cuba, which were originally established as Sister Cities to Bloomington and Normal in the early 2000s.  

No City Funding For Creativity Center

Oct 18, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A proposal to phase-in upgrades to the Creativity Center is receiving support from the Bloomington City Council. However, Aldermen want to use privately-raised money to pay for the project.

Alderman Amelia Buragas said she supports a resolution that says the council supports the Activity Center and will engage in a public-private partnership, but it doesn't commit city funds to it.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The industrial salvage company that owns the closed Mitsubishi plant in Normal has put off an auction to break up the equipment, building, and furniture.

This is the third delay for the auction originally scheduled for August. The latest date had been the 18th of October.

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