For the past several years, the Bloomington Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) has been working hard to improve our community. As MAC members, we volunteer our time to meet with business owners, residents, and county departments to find ways to support our community. In total, MAC members have lived in Bloomington more than 150 years and we know the needs and wishes of our community.
While the County has invested millions of dollars in a new state of the art library, baseball fields, and senior housing in Bloomington, we still do not have nearly enough municipal services. This is because our community does not generate enough revenue to cover the limited services we currently receive.
The MAC has been working with the County to find ways to increase revenues so we can have improved services, such as a dedicated Sheriff’s patrol, more Code Enforcement to deal with illegal businesses and clean up blighted areas, along with increased services for our seniors and children. These are services that the vast majority of our residents have consistently asked for. We also want to see more infrastructure improvements including street lighting, better roads, and sidewalks so our children can walk to school safely.
As part of this strategy to move Bloomington forward, we are requiring new projects to commit to community benefit agreements with the money staying in Bloomington. These benefit agreements will bring enhanced infrastructure and services to Bloomington. This approach is a first for the County and we are leading the way.
The first project to include a benefit agreement will soon be coming to the Board of Supervisors. It is a warehouse project on Slover Avenue – on an existing industrial corridor next to other industrial properties and near the Union Pacific Railyard. This location is exactly where a warehouse should be located, on an industrial truck route near the freeway. The Bloomington MAC members unanimously support this project. The project has been studied by experts, and a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report has been generated with state-of-the-art mitigation measures. It is designed with a substantial set-back that is seven times the required limit to minimize any impacts to the four houses behind the project.
The project will pay development impact fees for area transportation improvements including a signal light on Slover. A large amount of money from increased property taxes generated by the project will go to the CJUSD to support our children’s education, health and safety. Additionally, the project will contribute $30,000 annually to be used only in Bloomington for enhanced services, $225,000 for future public works projects in our community and will construct approximately 300 feet in sidewalks to complete a safe route to school for our Bloomington High School students.
Some residents have expressed concerns about the project. We appreciate those who have asked good questions. Constructive feedback has helped make this project better. Unfortunately, some outside groups are using this project to present a false narrative to uninformed residents and are using scare tactics to frighten residents into thinking that some “greedy developer” is “threatening to steal” their homes and “rob” people of their land.
The truth is no one, under any circumstances, can be forced to sell their property to anyone else against their will. These same people, that claim to be for the environment, conveniently turn a blind eye to the unpermitted, unregulated 130-plus illegal trucking operations located next to our schools and in the middle of our residential neighborhoods. These illegal diesel truck operations have an estimated 2,000 trucks a day traveling through Bloomington and are by far the biggest source of environmental pollution and truck traffic in Bloomington. The MAC has asked this outside environmental group to work with us in our efforts to rid our community of these major polluters, yet we have not received one word of support from those that claim to be trying to protect our children. I ask you to look at the true motivations of this outside group, are they really here to help our community, or their own political agenda?
I encourage my fellow Bloomington residents to take the time to learn the facts and make up their own minds based on what’s best for Bloomington as a whole, not on someone else’s outside personal or political agenda. Please do not allow people with outside motivations to divide our community for their own personal or political gain. Our efforts to improve our community are too important to allow outsiders with an agenda to derail the efforts of many of us that have worked so hard to provide enhanced services, infrastructure improvements and job opportunities for our residents.
In closing, this project is a win for our entire community and I encourage residents and elected leaders to focus on solutions to the real challenges we face, instead of resorting to empty rhetoric and partisan politics. As for the members of the Bloomington MAC, we will continue to make the best decisions to support a better Bloomington for our residents and children.
Submitted by Gary Grossich
Bloomington MAC Member