Jane Kupersmith, co-owner of Hopscotch Coffee and Rainbow Bakery, has been hired as the City of Bloomington's Assistant Director for Small Business Development.
Kupersmith will be part of the city's Economic & Sustainable Development Department. Her responsibilities include small business and entrepreneurship advocacy as well as retention and recruitment activities for the city. She also will serve as Executive Director of the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association. She has served on the BUEA board since January 2016 as a mayoral appointment.
The BUEA provides grants, tax incentives and other support for the "economic, physical and social environment for Zone residents and businesses." For example, the BUEA provided a $1 million capital grant commitment to CDFI-Friendly Bloomington last year. The executive director of CDFI-Friendly Bloomington, Brian Payne, previously held the job now filled by Kupersmith.
Kupersmith will retain her ownership in Hopscotch and Rainbow Bakery, but will not be involved in day-to-day operations of those local businesses.
At the Chamber's 2020 Legislative Preview luncheon, six of the seven state legislators who represent parts of the Bloomington/Monroe County area were on hand to provide updates on the current Indiana General Assembly session, which began Jan. 6. The event was held Jan. 17 at the Bloomington Country Club.
Legislators on the panel were: Sen. Mark Stoops (District 40), Sen. Eric Koch (District 44), Rep. Bob Heaton (District 46), Rep. Peggy Mayfield (District 60), Rep. Matt Pierce (District 61), and Rep. Jeff Ellington (District 62).
Click here for the Herald-Times report: "Legislators discuss economic development challenges at chamber luncheon."
As part of our advocacy efforts on behalf of members and the community, the Chamber develops annual guidelines for local public policy and state/federal legislation.
Our 2020 Local Public Policy Agenda provides specific priorities for a positive business climate (regulation, infrastructure and civic engagement) and quality of life (including housing, public safety, parking, parks and the convention center expansion).
Our 2020 State & Federal Legislative Agenda includes priorities for economic development and job creation, quality of place, environmental infrastructure, civic engagement and government accountability, education and workforce development, health care, and business taxation/regulation.
These guiding documents are developed through a member-driven process with our Chamber Advocacy Council and Chamber Legislative Council, and are approved by the Chamber's board of directors. Questions? Contact Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three forums to hear updates from state legislators during the 2020 General Assembly session have been scheduled by the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County. This year, the Chamber is partnering with the League for these events.
The forums will run from 9:30-11 a.m. on the following Saturdays: Jan. 25, Feb. 15 and March 21. All forums will be held at the Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton.
The Chamber is tracking legislation as it moves through the General Assembly. Click here for weekly updates.
At their quarterly meeting on Jan. 14, Arts Forward Bloomington held a forum focused on transportation issues that affect local arts organizations.
The group heard from Michael Shermis, the City of Bloomington's special projects coordinator, about current transportation-related activities, including a grant from ADA Indiana used to train people who are elderly or with disabilities how to use Uber.
Beth Rosenbarger, the city's planning services manager, discussed transportation issues in the context of the city's comprehensive plan and transportation plan.
The group discussed what kind of incentives might be offered by local arts organizations to encourage patrons to use alternative forms of transportation when coming to events, rather than driving a car. Ideas included offering free concessions for people who walk, bike or take the bus. The possibility of changing three parking spaces in front of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater into a drop-off/pick-up zone was also discussed.
In general, Arts Forward Bloomington wants to make sure the voice of the arts community is heard on a range of issues affecting the health of that sector.
Arts Forward Bloomington will hold its next forum in April, focusing on space needs for arts organizations. The group's steering committee includes Danielle McClelland, former director of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater; Gabe Gloden, Managing Director of Cardinal Stage; Ken Buzzard, President of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra; Susan Swaney, Artistic Director of Voces Novae and Founder of Sing for Joy! Senior Choir; and Kay Olges, Board President for Windfall Dancers.
On Jan. 6, the Indiana General Assembly began its 2020 legislative session, a short cycle that's expected to wrap up by mid-March.
To help inform members about legislation moving through the state House and Senate, the Chamber is hosting our annual Legislative Preview luncheon on Friday, Jan. 17. State legislators who represent parts of the Bloomington/Monroe County area will be on hand to give insights into the session. The event runs from 11 a.m. til 1 p.m. at the Bloomington Country Club, 3000 S. Rogers. Click here for details.
The Chamber is also hosting a Legislative Drive-In on Tuesday, Feb. 11. We'll be organizing a tour of the Statehouse and lunch there for members and legislators to meet informally while the House and Senate are in session. Click here for details.
Throughout the session, the Chamber's Advocacy Team and Legislative Council will be tracking legislation that's relevant to our members and the Bloomington/Monroe County community. You can find the full set of bills on the General Assembly's website.
Two board members for the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce – Lisa Abbott and Cindy Kinnarney – have been appointed to the Monroe County Redevelopment Commission and the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission, respectively.
Lisa Abbott is executive vice president of the Bloomington Board of Realtors. Cindy Kinnarney is market president for First Financial Bank and serves as first vice chair on the Chamber board.
The Monroe County Redevelopment Commission, on which Lisa Abbott serves, is a five-member board that oversees projects in the county's tax-increment finance (TIF) districts. Three members of this commission are appointed by the County Commissioners and two members are appointed by the County Council. Jim Shelton, the Chamber's government relations manager, is also a member of the county RDC.
Cindy Kinnarney is the newest member of the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission, which oversees the city's Department of Housing & Neighborhood Development (HAND), including the city's TIF districts. Three members of this 5-member board are appointed by the mayor. The other two are appointed by the Bloomington Council.
The Chamber encourages our members to serve on advisory boards and commissions for local government. Click here for more information on how to find vacancies and apply.
Redevelopment of the 24-acre Bloomington Hospital site is taking a step forward with the selection of a master planning team to oversee the project.
Last fall, the City of Bloomington issued a Request for Information (RFI) and received responses from 23 organizations in December. Of those, eight were selected for interviews by a Technical Review Committee on Jan. 16-17. The committee is chaired by former state Senator Vi Simpson and is a subset of the Hospital Re-Use Committee, on which Chamber CEO Erin Predmore serves.
Click here for details about the proposed work of the master planning team. Click here for more info about the redevelopment project.
At a swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 1, members of Bloomington City Council, the mayor and city clerk took the oath of office for new four-year terms. Watch the ceremony on CATS here.
Four new councilmembers were seated for their first terms: Kate Rosenbarger (District 1), Sue Sgambelluri (District 2), Ron Smith (District 3) and Matt Flaherty (At-Large). They replaced Chris Sturbaum, Dorothy Granger, Allison Chopra and Andy Ruff on council.
Returning to the 9-member council are Dave Rollo (District 4), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5), Steve Volan (District 6), Susan Sandberg (At-Large) and Jim Sims (At-Large). In addition, Mayor John Hamilton and City Clerk Nicole Bolden were also sworn in during the Jan. 1 ceremony, following their re-election on Nov. 5, 2019.
Click here for the Chamber's directory of elected officials.
Arts Forward Bloomington is hosting a quarterly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14 that focuses on issues related to transportation and the arts.
Topics will include the status of local parking and transportation plans, as well as ways that arts organizations and local government can partner to increase accessibility to those with transportation needs. The discussion also will address how to incentivize patrons to consider alternate forms of transportation.
The meeting is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood. Click here for more information on the AFB Facebook page.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy