Bloomington city leaders consider dispensary, new exhibit at Miller Park Zoo

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Bloomington City Council will meet Monday night and on the agenda are two possible expansions to the community.

Beyond Hello, a cannabis dispensary in Normal, is looking to expand by adding a new business in Bloomington.

“It would be a great opportunity for the city of Bloomington to bring in a significant amount of new tax revenue, create a significant amount of new opportunities for the local residents,” said Nathan Wang, the manager of new markets for Jushi, which owns Beyond Hello.

Tonight the city council will consider the company’s plan to buy the empty building on 118 Keaton Place. It’s the former site of Slim Chickens.

Representatives said the new location has more parking and is in a more central area.

“For a lot of people, it’s a health product and it’s kind of a wellness product. A lot of people need access to and want access to it, and so it’s just a way to give people in a community greater access to these types of products,” said Wang.

Bloomington city leaders will also vote on a bid for the construction of a new exhibit at Miller Park Zoo.

In January, the zoo received a $700,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which will be used to reimburse the city for the upgrades.

If approved, work will begin on an exhibit to house new De Brazza Monkeys and a Duiker Antelope.

“Progress at the zoo is always a positive thing for us, moving the zoo forward, bringing in new animals for our guests to be able to see. It’s an exciting time for us here at the Miller Park Zoo,” said Zoo Director Jay Tetzloff.

The new exhibit will be a netted exhibit with a holding building, as well and glass panes for viewing.

Tetzloff said the animals are native to Africa and will be a big attraction for people at the zoo.

“With the educational graphics we’ll have and that glass viewing, it’ll be some great opportunities for our guests young and old to get face to face, eye to eye with some of these animals,” said Tetzloff.

Zoo leaders said they hope to open the exhibit next spring.

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