Grocery chain Kroger is asking the city of Bloomington for more time to complete infrastructure improvements for a proposed new store that might never be built.
Aldermen will vote Monday on a one-year extension of the city’s agreement with Kroger where the company pledges to add an eastbound right turn lane on College Avenue near Hershey Road along with sidewalk, sewer and bus shelter improvements.
“We are still open to the possibility this property could still be developed,” city manager Tim Gleason said. “It’s possibly unlikely with some of the retail grocery trends changing.”
Kroger proposed the $24.5 million store in 2016 to replace its store just north of College in Normal, but announced in January 2018 the project was on hold.
The city offered $2.5 million in sales tax breaks, a sweetener that has since lapsed.
Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson said the store project remains on hold.
"While the store project is still under review, we want to fulfill the infrastructure commitment we made to the city," Halvorson said.
He said the work is expected to exceed $1 million.
Bloomington is looking to create a commission that would advise the city on all technology matters.
The city council votes Monday on creating the advisory board.
“It will be interesting to see what they do hone in on,” Gleason said.
Gleason said the panel could lend its expertise on everything from automation to energy efficiency and even public Wi-Fi, which the city currently lacks.
“It’s very possible that with our exterior lighting provide Wi-Fi,” Gleason said. “Somebody goes in and buys something from a local business and maybe a code for a 24-hour period is printed on the receipt and that provides for Wi-Fi in the downtown area.”
Gleason added the city is also working with the McLean County Regional Planning Commission to make more of the city's documents readily available online.
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