By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – Former Bloomington City Council member Karen Schmidt felt overwhelmed at a Downtown Bloomington ceremony on Thursday, after friends, constituents, and dignitaries dedicated a plaque and city bench in Schmidt’s honor for her 20 years of city council service.
The plaque and bench are at the Center Street entrance to Monroe Center, owned by Vicki Tilton, who led the effort to honor Schmidt.
“Vicki called me at work, and the conversation was something like, ‘I’ve spoken to (City Manager) Tim Gleason, I’ve spoken to the mayor, and now I think I should talk to you.’ Being my mother’s daughter, I thought, oh crap, what have I done? Then she told me what it was, and I started to cry,” Schmidt said.
“Karen has been just a tireless advocate, not just for our downtown, but for the downtrodden and for the less fortunate in our community, and certainly gives of her time, and has done that more than anybody that I know,” said Mayor Tari Renner.
State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) said he’s been good friends with Schmidt despite their political differences.
“Something that’s missing, and we need more of today, is understanding how you can work together, which we have, understanding your differences, and more so than anything else, having mutual respect for that individual you may not see eye-to-eye on,”
Donors paid for the plaque, which quotes President John F. Kennedy, and they also contributed $750 in Schmidt’s name to the West Bloomington Revitalization Project.
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives,” is the Kennedy quote engraved on the plaque.
Schmidt lost her re-election bid for the Ward 6 seat earlier this year to Jenn Carrillo.
Schmidt considers her time on the council as a blessing and a gift because it allowed her to interact with people.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at email@example.com