Bloomington’s Gleason: Local sports complex far from a done deal

Tim Gleason
Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said Tuesday that a proposed $43.6 million multi-sports complex is still in the fact-finding stage. (File photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)

 

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said Tuesday evening that staffers from both Twin-Cities are off to the Quad Cities this week to learn about a multi-sports complex there.

The new city manager said staffers will be touring a sports complex in Bettendorf, Iowa, however, Gleason said a similar facility here is anything but a done deal.

The two city governments and the Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau all shared in the $47,000 cost of a consultant’s study. The report, presented in July, suggested the community could support a $43.6 million indoor-outdoor facility.

Gleason said Bloomington is still in the information-gathering stage.

“My council, as a whole, has said, ‘city manager, bring us more information so that we can make an informed decision up or down,'” said Gleason.

“I don’t want to say it’s going to be a heavy lift, but when you’re talking about that kind of money, that is a major investment. So there (are) a lot of hurdles for us to get across.”

On another topic, Gleason said he’ll have his first meeting soon with State Farm executives to discuss prospects for selling its now-vacant downtown office building.

Gleason reiterated the council’s ‘no new property taxes’ stance, and said he’s discussing potential cost savings with other local governments. For example, Gleason said he’s talking with Town of Normal staffers about sharing space for the significant amount of data storage space that will be needed the police department’s body-warn cameras.

“Your out-front costs are nothing compared to the long-term data storage and needs for the body-worn cameras,” said Gleason.

Gleason said he’s also exploring the idea of having city and county governments share space for IT servers that have to be stored at particular temperatures.

Gleason made his comments when he met with about 14 residents who gathered Tuesday evening for a question-and-answer session at Rollingbrook Park, hosted by Alderman Diana Hauman.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

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