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Bloomington Considers Gambling For Planned Pizzeria, Higher Recycling Costs

Vacant lot for new pizza restaurant
Eric Stock
Lulu's Pizza and Gaming is seeking to build at a vacant lot at 802 E. Washington St. in Bloomington.

Bloomington could be promising a gaming license for a planned pizzeria, provided it opens on schedule.
The Bloomington City Council is expected to vote Monday night on proposals to approve licenses for video gambling and alcohol sales for LuLu's Pizza and Gaming. It would be built on a vacant lot at Washington and Clinton streets.

Mark Allen and Carl Muench are looking to build the restaurant at the former Mr. Quick restaurant site. They own the Speed Lube across the street.

Billy Tyus
Credit City of Bloomington
Bloomington Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said pledging a gaming license for LuLu's Pizza and Gaming before it is built would give the business some certainty.

Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said gaming is a key part of LuLu's business plan, even though the city has limited gaming revenue for all establishments at 50% to avoid gambling parlors.

“In business development, there are financial projections that are made and pro forma (financial statements) that are done and those kinds of things and you build in where you think your revenues will come from,” Tyus said. “Part of that modeling involved the establishment of video gaming as has been the case at this developer’s other establishments.”

The company also runs a pizza shop with gaming in Decatur. Tyus said pledging a gaming license before the new restaurant is built would give it some certainty.

“So as you can imagine as a business owner … if you’ve built (gaming) into your business model, you would like some level of assurance that a license would be available.”

The pizzeria would have to be being constructed by next April and open by April 2021 to get the gaming license, according to city documents.

The city lifted its moratorium on gaming licenses in August but is limiting the number of new licenses to eight. City officials say they haven't issued any new licenses yet.

Recycling Costs Rise

The city council is also expected to set aside an additional $150,000 to cover recycling costs for the remaining five months of the budget year.

"Since January of this year, the fees for recycling processing have doubled for the city,” Bloomington Public Works Director Jim Karch. “This matches industry trends for recycling seen across the country."

Tyus noted aside from the volatile recycling market that has increased what the city pays, people are recycling more.

“We’ve seen an increase in the amount of recycling in our community, which we want to see,” Tyus said. “What’s happened is almost this perfect storm whereby we are seeing the cost of processing the recyclables has gone up.”

Bloomington has previously reported that 80% of its residents recycle.

China and other international markets have limited how much recycled material they will take from the United States because of food and other contamination.

Bloomington contracts with Midwest Fiber Recycling of Normal to process its recyclable materials.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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