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Bloomington To Consider Request For Job Training Site For Women

Commercial building at 1311 W. Olive St., Bloomington
Eric Stock
A commercial building at 1311 W. Olive St. would be converted into a job training site for women under a proposal the Bloomington City Council will consider on Monday night.

A commercial space that's been mostly vacant for years on Bloomington’s west side could become a new training site for low-income and at-risk women.

Mary and Hank Campbell are looking to buy an old commercial building at 1311 W. Olive St. to open Dreams Are Possible. Its goal is to provide basic building trades training for women.

In a document to the city council, the petitioners say they intend the facility to serve as a training site that would work with existing job training programs at Mid Central Community Action, job retraining efforts at Heartland Community College, Habitat for Humanity Women Build, West Bloomington Revitalization Project's Tool Library and others.

Some neighbors raised concerns about parking and congestion during a recent Zoning Board meeting. City Manager Tim Gleason said that’s an issue the city will monitor.

“I think the key is just to stay in close contact with (neighbors) to make sure there aren’t problems along the way,” Gleason said.

The Zoning Board recommended the petitioner should provide a 10-foot transitional yard to provide screening to the adjoining residents from car headlights and from parked cars.

West Olive Faith United Methodist Church, which is across the street from the building, has offered its parking to the project should it be needed.

The Bloomington City Council on Monday night will consider a special-use permit for the property. That's a condition of the building being sold.

City spokeswoman Nora Dukowitz said the special-use permit encourages investment in an old commercial building.

“This project is certainly in line with the city’s comprehensive plan and that includes encouraging denser mixed-use developments and reinvestments in older neighborhoods,” Dukowitz said.

The property is zoned R-1B, a medium density single-family residential district.

The council on Monday will also consider a $1 million contract for Stark Excavating to create additional parking and concessions at Miller Park Zoo. The concepts were included in the zoo's master plan, which the city approved in 2012.

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