Bloomington To Consider New Economic Development Department | WGLT

Bloomington To Consider New Economic Development Department

Mar 11, 2019

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said he believes a one-time cash infusion and increase in staff time will bolster the city's economic development efforts.

The city council votes Monday night on a plan to create a new economic development department.

“Economic development is such a priority that I think we need to emphasize our efforts more than what we have done in the past,” Gleason said.

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said the city could enhance its economic development efforts with its regional partners by creating its own economic development department.
Credit City of Bloomington

Gleason added the change is not a reflection of any dissatisfaction with the city’s regional partners, but he added the city could be a stronger partner itself.

Gleason said the $200,000 the city would pull from its annual subsidies to the Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau and BN Advantage in the coming budget year could be used in various ways to bring business to the area.

“Whether we felt we had a great opportunity out there and it required us to prep and travel to try and entice a business to expand or relocate in the city of Bloomington, it’s those types of opportunities,” Gleason said.

The city currently has an economic development staff of one: coordinator Austin Grammer. Under this plan, the city would name a new department head, Melissa Hon, and realign staff from its downtown development division to create a staff of four. Grammer would remain in his current post. 

The city would eliminate its assistant to the city manager position which Hon currently holds.

The city council is scheduled to vote on a proposed four-cent increase in the motor fuel tax and a new $500 annual fee for each video gambling terminal in the city at its March 25 meeting.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.