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Bloomington chamber weighs in on chain-store ban

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The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is opposing Mayor Mark Kruzan’s proposal to restrict chain stores and restaurants downtown.

“We see no evidence of an imminent or future threat to the vitality of the downtown–nor a compelling argument of similar nature–that would justify restricting chain or formula businesses in the downtown,” chamber CEO Christy Gillenwater said in a prepared statement released Wednesday morning.

The chamber said it surveyed more than 850 members. Approximately 170 surveys, or 20 percent, were returned.

Among those businesses that responded, 70 percent opposed “any sort of ban on chains or formula businesses in downtown Bloomington,” the chamber stated.

The chamber has been tracking the issue since Kruzan mentioned it in his state-of-the-city address earlier this year.

Kruzan would like to see national restaurant and retail chains banned from streets facing the historic courthouse square, as well as Kirkwood Avenue, from Sample Gates to the square.

Kruzan has not yet put a formal proposal before the Plan Commission, which would be the first stop before a City Council vote.

“Through this survey, we heard directly from the businesses and individuals who make up our membership–businesses of all sizes, including those considered local business,” Gillenwater said.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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