Renner: Connect Transit needs new downtown site, with or without library

Tari Renner
Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said the city should explore all options for Connect Transit to build a new transfer station downtown. (Photo courtesy Facebook/Tari Renner)

By Eric Stock

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington mayor Tari Renner said he isn’t giving up hope on plans for a new Connect Transit bus transfer station downtown even if a proposal for a major catalysts project downtown appears off the table.

Bloomington Public Library officials have reaffirmed their desire to expand at their current site on Olive Street rather than build a new library at the current Market Street garage that could also include a transfer station, a proposal that a downtown task force has introduced.

PODCAST: Listen to Scott’s interview with Renner on WJBC.

“If that really is dead, then we know we need to partner with Connect Transit in some way,” Renner said. “Maybe it still is the Market Street garage it just doesn’t include the library. Maybe was have some light retail.”

Renner added that the transfer station on Front Street across the street from the McLean County Law and Justice Center is Connect Transit’s second busiest location.

“Connect Transit has to have a downtown transfer station,” Renner said. “We have to see what the library is going to in terms of looking into expanding more at its current location and its obstacles.”

A majority of alderman have said they don’t want to pursue a new site for the library.

The downtown task force proposed the library and bus transfer station project as a primary “catalyst project” but suggests alternatives if that is not feasible. Other options include developing properties in the downtown area such as the Front & Center building and CII East or create incentives for redevelopment of surface parking lots to pursue a mixed-use project.

The task force report can be seen here:

Eric Stock can be reached at eric.stock@cumulus.com.

Blogs

WJBC Voices: The safe, legal and rare fraud

At one time, Hillary Clinton’s mantra about abortion was that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.”  I suspected then that she really meant only the “legal” part, and time has borne out that suspicion.