© 2023 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Alderman Schmidt Not On Board With Market Street Library Proposal

The south side of the Bloomington Library could be expanded or another children's facility added under a previous consensus for the future of the library

Proponents of a new Bloomington Public Library combined with a Connect Transit transfer center have a hurdle to overcome—a previous council consensus.

Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Pro Tem Karen Schmidt said she is willing to listen, but seven aldermen and Mayor Tari Renner have already signed off on improving the current site of the library.

"I have to say as a librarian (at Illinois Wesleyan University), I am absolutely delighted that people talk about the library as a catalyst project and I agree 100 percent on that. And I think it can be a catalyst right where it is. That's my personal opinion about it," said Schmidt.

Members of the Downtown Bloomington Task Force have suggested combining a new library with a transfer center and parking facility on the location of the current Market Street parking deck as a catalyst project that could lure further private development.
Earlier projects such as the U.S. Cellular Coliseum (now Grossinger Motors Arena) and Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts were also intended to spark revitalization and public buy-in to the downtown district.

Schmidt said she firmly believes the library can be an economic catalyst no matter where it is.

"For me, I think we have made the decision, but if there is enough interest in having another conversation I think we should have that with the library board and do it soon," said Schmidt.

Schmidt said the library needs to have the certainty to plan, no matter which direction the project goes.

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.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.