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Benches With A Story Pop Up On Bloomington's West Side

Ryan Denham
West Bloomington Revitalization Project board member Robert Bosquez sits on one of the new benches.

A group of west Bloomington volunteers are taking a stand to help their neighbors take a seat.

Two-dozen benches are being installed at Connect Transit bus stops on the city’s west side. The first five are already on place on Washington Street, with more to come on Market Street.

Each bench has a placard on the back, telling the story of someone with ties to public transit or the west side, said Robert Bosquez, board member with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project. Those placards were purchased by community members and organizations.

One story is about a disabled man whose life changed dramatically after moving to Bloomington-Normal and getting to ride public transit—something that wasn’t possible in his former community. Another is about a couple who raised their family on the west side. Each story is shared on social media.

You will start to see these benches pop up in West Bloomington along with plaques in which families dedicated these benches too. Most of them will be along Connect Transit bus stops. West Bloomington Revitalization Project and Tool Library are proud to display this Awesome project. Today we feature Nancy and Linda this one is located on the corner of Allin and Washington. In 2008 our brother, Kurt Neubauer, moved from Iowa to Lincoln Towers in Bloomington. His disabilities were keeping him nearly housebound before the move. His life changed after he got to Bloomington. That change was made possible by the Connect Bus service. Using his motorized wheelchair he was able to get on the bus and go to appointments, dialysis, ballgames, cultural events and just about anyplace he wanted to go. Coming to our community with great events and such wonderful bus service made a huge difference in his life. He was extremely out going and became friends with both the drivers and riders. The bus bench project was a perfect way for us to contribute to a community that changed our brother’s life. #wbrp #connecttransit A post shared by The Tool Library (@thetoollib) on Jul 14, 2017 at 7:51am PDT

It took around 50 volunteers to build the benches, said Bosquez.

“People are taking advantage of these benches now,” he said. “We love seeing families along these bus routes taking a little break before they catch the bus.”

Follow each bench’s story—a new one is added every week—on the Tool Library’s Instagram account.

You can also listen to our full interview with Bosquez:

GLT's full interview with Robert Bosquez.

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