NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Eric Spoonmore was published in the September 30, 2022 Bloomington Herald-Times.
As public officials attempt to strengthen our local transit system with a $35 million budget projected in 2023, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is eager to see transit services extended beyond the Bloomington city limits. This long-awaited upgrade can begin with the immediate expansion of Route 3 by 1.3 miles to reach Ivy Tech Community College and the numerous Park 48 employers.
Recently, the city council passed Resolution 22-16, which endorses the extension of transit service beyond the city boundaries but stops short of formally approving the changes. The current municipal code states that the boundaries of Bloomington Transit (BT) must be 'coterminous' with the city’s boundaries. While the resolution does not amend the current municipal code, it does open the possibility of service to unincorporated areas in the future.
The Chamber has consistently been a strong advocate for expanded transit service. This is a necessary measure to make the community’s public transit system even better for residents, including employers and people who work in the more urbanized areas of Monroe County. We need a transit system that reflects the needs of the entire community. In fact, the Chamber recently endorsed a portion of Mayor John Hamilton’s Local Income Tax proposal that would fund enhanced transit services.
NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Eric Spoonmore was published in the September 16, 2022 Bloomington Herald-Times.
We are so fortunate to live in a vibrant community that values public education. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and our membership understand that a high-quality public education system delivers substantial economic benefits to a community. The Chamber remains committed to working with our partners in the Monroe County Community School Corp. (MCCSC) and the Richland Bean-Blossom Community School Corp. to provide the highest quality learning experiences for our local students.
This November, MCCSC is asking voters to approve a referendum that would provide increased funding for student programs, teacher salaries and staff wages. The additional funding will protect against inadequate state funding, expand programs to meet changing educational expectations, attract and retain quality teachers, and continue important student services and enrichment programs.
In 2010, voters approved the current referendum that provided an operating levy of 14 cents per $100 of assessed value. The new rate proposed by MCCSC in 2022 is 18.5 cents — an increase of less than a nickel per $100 of assessed valuation. The Chamber views the referendum as a prudent investment in our community and overall student success. The additional referendum dollars will prevent painful cuts to staff positions and student programming. If passed, 100% of the total new referendum dollars will fund teacher and staff compensation, as well as much needed S.T.E.M; arts, and special education programs. Further, none of the additional revenue is earmarked for administration pay or capital projects.
NOTE: This Noon Edition interview with Chamber CEO Eric Spoonmore was published in the September 9, 2022 WFIU Noon Edition by Nathan Moore.
Discussions between city and county officials over the Monroe Convention Center’s expansion and ownership continue. Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton’s administration offered to buy the convention center for $4 million to accelerate its expansion. The expansion is expected to cost tens of millions to complete.
The purpose of this expansion is to host larger events, increasing tourism dollars and boosting the local economy.
The goal for the city administration and local businesses leaders is to get a deal done by the end of the month, but some county officials say they don’t support the city’s plan.
A main funding source for the center is a 1% food and beverage tax that has collected more than $14 million. That tax could be threatened in the next legislative session.
NOTE: This article that highlights President & CEO, Eric Spoonmore's, involvement was published in the August 31, 2022 B Square Bulletin by Dave Askins. Photos are gathered from the article as well.
On Wednesday at noon, the possible expansion of the county convention center was the topic of a meeting of Monroe County and Bloomington officials.
The gathering at the county courthouse included county commissioners, some county councilors, city councilmembers and the mayor’s office.
It was the first time that representatives from all four groups had sat at the same table on that topic since early March of 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
After about 45 minutes of conversation, the group had not made much progress, but agreed it was worth another meeting.
The city wants to get a deal done by the end of September. So “sooner rather than later” was the city’s wish for a next scheduled meeting.
One twist that emerged on Wednesday was the possibility that a convention center deal between the city and the county could hinge on Bloomington’s approval of a rezone for land that the county wants to use for construction of a new jail.
This blog contains press releases, other news updates from the Chamber, news articles and radio interviews featuring interviews with the Chamber and team members, and much more!