As uncertainty continues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, our community’s K-12 public school systems recently announced plans for the start of the school year. The trustees and administration for Monroe County Community School Corp. and Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corp. are working to balance safety issues for students and staff while ensuring a positive learning experience.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce urges support for parents, teachers and students during this stressful time. We encourage employers to be flexible and patient as their employees navigate this shifting landscape. There are no easy answers, but we trust that our local educators are working to find the best possible outcome for students.
Information about MCCSC’s reopening plan is on the district's website. RBBCSC’s back-to-school plan is available here.
Good luck to all students, teachers, and parents for a successful start to the school year. We support you!
Monroe County is distributing reimbursements to local businesses for expenses directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Expenses might include cleaning supplies, personal protection equipment like face masks, or costs associated with changing the way a business operates (converting to curbside pickup, for example).
Click here for details and to apply for reimbursements. Questions can be directed to the county's project administrator at 812-272-6355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Bloomington has designed 54 parking spots throughout downtown as free 15-minute pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) locations for restaurants and merchants. The intent is to support the curbside pick-up model that many businesses are using during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for an interactive map of the PUDO spaces.
This pilot project, which starts Aug. 1, has been approved by the city's Board of Public Works through Sept. 30. After that, it could be extended via temporary order or city council vote.
The city also announced that starting Aug. 1, enforcement of metered parking spaces will begin again from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The city has been offering two free hours of metered parking since March.
Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a statewide mandate for wearing face coverings on July 23, to take effect Monday, July 27.
The order is intended to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Monroe County health officials had previously issued a health order to take effect July 31, that included mandatory face coverings and other requirements. The mayor of Bloomington subsequently moved to implement that order earlier in the City of Bloomington, effective July 23.
The governor's order would make it a Class B misdemeanor if you fail to wear a face covering under certain conditions. Class B misdemeanors carry possible fines of up to $1,000 and a possible sentence of up to 6 months in jail.
Read the governor's executive order 20-37 here. Read more about local requirements here.
Violation of the Monroe County health order now includes a possible fine of up to $500, following action by the Monroe County Board of Health.
Mandatory masks are part of a health order issued on July 17, though some requirements don't start until July 31. However, in the City of Bloomington the July 31 requirements will begin July 23 at noon, because Mayor John Hamilton signed an executive order to implement these county measures earlier:
The Board of Health's regulation takes effect at noon on Wednesday, July 22. Violating a Board of Health regulation is a Class C ordinance violation, allowing for fines of up to $500. The regulation recommends that individuals be fined $50, but only recommends that groups be fined at a higher, unspecified rate. It can be enforced by health department officials or any law enforcement officer.
In a speech on Thursday called "Recovering Forward," Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton proposed a raft of spending initiatives aimed at boosting the local economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a new 0.25% local income tax.
From his speech: "I know it is rarely popular to raise revenues, and that it is not easy during times of economic pressure. But we cannot Recover Forward without it. Without it, we will shortchange our future and Bloomington’s potential. And, being one of the lowest-tax cities in a low-tax state in one of the lowest-tax countries, we have fiscal room to do so. Recover Forward lets us dedicate these resources toward those most in need, and toward the Bloomington we want to become."
Click here for a transcript. A video of his speech is available at the bottom of that page.
In January, the mayor proposed an 0.5% local income tax for sustainability initiatives, but that proposal was abandoned when the pandemic hit.
The mayor does not have the authority to enact a local income tax (LIT). It would need to be approved by the elected fiscal authorities in Monroe County, including the Bloomington City Council and Monroe County Council, in weighted votes based on the proportion of the population that elected officials of each entity represents. Because Bloomington is the largest population base, an eight-vote majority of the Bloomington City Council could pass a LIT for the entire county.
About half of the proceeds would go to the county government.
A new apartment complex at the Johnson Creamery site will add 58 apartments in a 5-story building that also includes retail space facing the BLine.
The site is now a parking lot for the Johnson Creamery's office complex, which will remain – and where the Chamber's offices were previously located. It is between 7th and 8th Streets just west of the BLine.
There will be 27 studio units, 22 one-bedroom units, 5 two-bedroom units and 6 three-bedroom units, totaling 77 bedrooms. In addition, there will be 2,600 space of first-floor retail, 36 parking spaces under the building, and a green roof.
The Bloomington Plan Commission gave unanimous approval to the project at their July 13 meeting. Click here to read more.
The Monroe County Health Department is recruiting volunteers for the Medical Service Corps to help with local health and safety work.
Volunteers currently are being deployed to help with the COVID testing site. When a COVID vaccine is available, volunteers will be needed to help at county health clinics.
Click here for more info. To sign up, email email@example.com.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is holding an installation ceremony for a historical marker at Peoples Park in Bloomington to mark the location of the Black Market, a Black-owned business that was firebombed in 1968. The installation will take place on Friday, July 31 at 10 a.m. at Peoples Park, 501 E Kirkwood Ave. (the northeast corner of Kirkwood and Dunn).
This ends a process that officially began in the summer of 2019 with an application to the Indiana State Historical Society. The Chamber had originally planned to have this event and marker installation in May, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were rescheduled for this month.
“We are looking forward to finally being able to honor Peoples Park and the Black Market that was once located there,” said Erin Predmore, President & CEO of the Chamber. “Many people in Bloomington are unaware of the history of this park and the injustice that led to the end of the Black Market, and the Chamber and our Black-Owned Business Affinity Group are on a mission to change that.”
The Chamber will be livestreaming the installation of the marker on our Facebook page. Click here for the Chamber press release.
The Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corp. board approved its reopening plan on July 7, adding to the school plans already authorized in this area. R-BB's plan requires students and staff to wear face coverings, with some exceptions. Click here for the R-BB reopening plan.
The Monroe County Community School Corp. board approved its reentry plan in June. It also requires face coverings for students and staff, with exceptions. Click here for the MCCSC Reentry and Recovery Plan.
Information and updates about Indiana University's reopening are available on the IU Fall 2020 site.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy