Chamber CEO Erin Predmore joined a panel and Bring It On! hosts William Hosea and Cornelius Wright to discuss the state of black-owned businesses and the entrepreneurial resources available to them. The show aired on Oct. 19, 2020 on WFHB 91.3 FM. A recording is available here.
Other panelists were Virginia Githiri, lecturer at the IU School of Health and owner of Popcorn Kernels with a Twist; and Jim Adams, III, the territory sales leader for State Farm Insurance.
The Chamber has been working with a Black-Owned Business Affinity Group to help support and grow black-owned businesses in our community.
During a weekly joint press conference on Friday afternoon, Mayor John Hamilton announced plans to close sections of Kirkwood to vehicular traffic 24/7 through the end of the year. Those sections are between Dunn and Grant, and from Washington to Walnut. The block between Indiana and Dunn will be closed weekends only. North/south cross streets will remain open.
Since this summer, sections of Kirkwood have been closed from Thursday through Sunday to allow restaurants to set up tables for customers in the street. It allows for additional seating with distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some restaurant owners have been advocating to keep the closing throughout the week so that they can set up tents with heaters during inclement weather.
Erin Predmore, CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, was a guest on the Oct. 16, 2020 WFIU Noon Edition, focused on how COVD-related festival cancellations are impacting southern Indiana.
Other panelists were Judy Epp, Spencer Pride fundraising director; Diana Choate, Monroe County Fall Festival president; and Elaine Bedel, Indiana Destination and Development Corporation secretary and CEO.
Click here to listen to a recording of the discussion. Read the WFIU report: "Bloomington Chamber CEO Talks Effects of Local Event Cancellations."
Monroe County is now offering reimbursements for expenses related to COVID-19 for up to $20,000. The previous limit was $10,000.
The reimbursements are made possible with funds from the federal CARES Act. Examples of approved expenses include cleaning or disinfection supplies, personal protection equipment (like face masks), and costs associated with changing your business model (such as restaurants that started offering curbside or take-out).
Details and a reimbursement form are available here.
The Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has approved a new regional transportation plan through 2045, with new emphasis on safety, transportation equity and climate change. Approval came at the group's Oct. 9 meeting.
Pat Martin, City of Bloomington senior transportation planner, noted that this marks the first MPO in Indiana to endorse a "Vision Zero" action plan, with a goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries. "Now the hard part comes in implementing the policy," he told MPO members.
The plan will be submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for their review and concurrent approval with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Click here to view the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.
NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Erin Predmore was published in the Oct. 9, 2020 Bloomington Herald-Times.
This year, the presidential election is sucking all the oxygen out of the room as we head toward Nov. 3. It’s certainly a crucial race and not just for the business community.
But here’s the thing: While presidential candidates receive much-deserved attention and scrutiny, many of the down-ballot races go virtually unnoticed. How many times in the past have you filled out your ballot and wondered: “Who the heck are these people?”
The candidates we elect for local and state offices have a direct impact on our daily lives. They make decisions that impact businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and individuals. They decide how our tax dollars are spent. They make policies and regulations that affect how your business can operate and whether you can thrive. They hire and oversee our school superintendents. They determine how laws are applied. And most of them do this in relative anonymity.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is working to help our members and others in the community be more informed voters. We’ve launched an online, nonpartisan guide for elected positions that represent all or parts of Monroe County. Please check it out at ChamberBloomington.org/2020-general-election.
You’ll find information, including short video interviews, for candidates in these races: U.S. Congress District 9, Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives, Monroe County Council and Commission, other Monroe County elected offices, Monroe County Circuit Court, and trustees for Monroe County Community School Corp. and Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corp.
We encourage you to research the candidates by reading reports in the Bloomington Herald-Times and other media, by visiting the League of Women Voters’ Vote411.org, by reviewing each candidate’s campaign materials, and by contacting candidates directly if you have questions. We hope the chamber’s online resource guide can be part of that mix.
Of course, knowing about the candidates is just part of the puzzle. Getting people to the polls is a heavy lift, too. In 2016, turnout in Monroe County was about 53%. If that were a grade, we’d be failing. We can do better.
Early voting started Tuesday. What are you doing to ensure our community gets at least a passing grade in turnout this year?
We understand that many businesses shy away from anything to do with elections, citing concerns over being political. We get it. But voting itself is foundational to our democracy. Encouraging your employees to vote and pointing them to nonpartisan resources is an act of citizenship, not politics.
Publicize resources like the ones mentioned above. Encourage your employees to take advantage of early voting hours — go to MonroeCountyVoters.us for a list of hours at Election Central, 401 W. Seventh St. Make sure your staff knows if they are eligible for an absentee ballot. Provide flexibility if employees need to take time to vote on Election Day. Host an Election Day pizza party to celebrate democracy.
Put up a Vote Now or Vote Early sign in front of your business.
You’ll be seeing those signs around town, thanks to a partnership with the Chamber, the League of Women Voters and Monroe County Election Central. The league’s Vote Early signs are available for your business — you can pick one up at the chamber office at 421 W. Sixth St.
And look for periodic “flockings” of Monroe County’s Vote Now signs in front of businesses around town. Volunteers are planting dozens of signs at different locations, where they’ll alight for a few days before moving on.
Critical mass is important in making an impact, whether we’re talking about signs or voter turnout. Please help our community ensure a strong, informed showing on Nov. 3.
The City of Bloomington is implementing parking via the ParkMobile app, allowing people to find, reserve, and pay for parking at over 150 spots in two app-only parking zones in Bloomington.
The app will be activated later this month for parking at these locations, which previously were free:
More information about using the app is available at Park Mobile Pay By Phone FAQs. The app-only zones are available to those without a smartphone by calling the number listed at the Pay By Phone sign (1-877-727-5007) and following instructions to pay by credit card.
The 2020 General Election is on Tuesday, Nov. 3. In addition to the race for U.S. President, many candidates are running for local, state and federal office. To help voters navigate their options, the Chamber has launched a nonpartisan resource guide for elected positions that represent all or parts of Monroe County.
In addition to general resources about the voting process, the site includes information about candidates for U.S. Congress District 9, Indiana Senate and House of Representatives, Monroe County Council and Commission, Monroe County Circuit Court, other Monroe County elected offices, and the school boards for Monroe County Community School Corp. and Richland-Bean Blossom Schools.
Not sure who's on your ballot? Go to the League of Women Voters Vote411 site, enter your address and get a listing. Or search for your ballot on the Indiana Voter Portal by clicking the "Who's On The Ballot" link.
The City of Bloomington is hosting a public forum on Oct. 6 to review a site plan for the redevelopment of the current IU Health Bloomington Hospital area. The event begins at 6 p.m. and will be held online. Residents can participate by registering here, or watch the event on Facebook or CATS.
Participants will be asked to take part in three 25-minute workshops featuring interactive discussions about the plan. The workshop topics will be Access + Connections, Open Space, and Land Use + Neighborhood Character.
The next public forum will occur in December, when the master planning consultant, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), will present a finalized plan. The master planning team is also working with the Hospital Reuse Committee, a group of more than 30 community members who have been involved with the city on this project since 2015. Chamber CEO Erin Predmore serves on that group.
Additional information, updates, and input opportunities are available on the project website.
Scott Robinson has been named the new Planning & Transportation Director for the City of Bloomington, a mayoral appointment that is expected to be confirmed at the Bloomington Plan Commission's Oct. 12 meeting. He replaces Terri Porter, who retired on Sept. 25.
Robinson has served as assistant director since 2018 and has worked for the City of Bloomington for 18 years. Most recently, he took the lead in developing the city's Unified Development Ordinance and the city's Comprehensive Plan.
In his new role, Robinson will receive annual salary of $101,418. The assistant director's position will be posted here in mid-October. Click here for more information about the Planning & Transportation Department.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy