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Aldermen Fold Downtown Bloomington Association Into City Government

Alderman Karen Schmidt will act as Mayor Pro Tem while Mayor Tari Renner takes a medical leave of absence.

The Bloomington City Council has created a downtown section for its Community Development Department.

The council passed the change 5 to 2 on Monday night. Mayor Pro Tem Karen Schmidt said collaboration with the Downtown Bloomington Association has been on the city's radar for quite some time. 

"There has always been conversation about how we can elevate the work of DBA, or Uniquely Bloomington, or whatever it was called at the time," said Schmidt. "We've looked at a lot of different ways of funding that, how we can link it more closely to the city."

Schmidt said the department hopes to combat homelessness and apply for new grants. 

"The idea that we can continue to build on the energy we got from the Route 66 museum and all of the people who are now coming into our downtown," said Schmidt. "This to me is a game-changer."

Aldermen Joni Painter and Jamie Mathy abstained because they are involved with the DBA. Mboka Mwilambwe and David Sage voted against the measure, saying it needs more fine tuning. 

The city will spend another $150,000 on the effort. It already spends $90,000 on the Downtown Bloomington Association. 

Schmidt said she will be fulfilling Mayor Tari Renner's duties and keeping him updated on city council activity as he takes a medical leave of absence.

Schmidt appeared on GLT's Sound Ideas on Tuesday and spoke more about the Downtown Bloomington Association:

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Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.