The Bloomington City Council decided this week to pull funding from the area’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to make way for an Economic Development Department.
On Monday the council voted to cut $200,000 dollars in funding to the CVB and use that money to create an economic development department at City Hall. Leaders say they looked over the budget and felt the money would be used more efficiently in this capacity.
“Although we have an economic development coordinator, we haven’t really had a full-fledged department with authority and responsiblity,” said Ward 8 representative Diana Hauman.
Hauman was one of the key influencers behind the economic department, she says it will help the city cater to more businesses.
“Instead of being reactive we can be more proactive in reaching out to businesses that might come into the community or business that are already here and can expand in the community,” she said.
However, Bloomington-Normal already has an economic development council that is tasked with doing exactly what this department was created to do. But leaders say both organizations will actually help each other.
Bloomington is the biggest municipality in McLean County, and leaders at the EDC say, with the creation of this new department, they believe Bloomington is taking a major step in the right direction.
“Their success is vital to our area’s success,” said Zach Dietmeier with the BNEDC. “A greater focus on the economic development, while we haven’t necessarilty had to put that much focus in that area in the past as a community, we’re on a global stage here. We need them to be on top of their game and to help them get to that point… we are going to be an equal player in that for them.”
The economic department will be headed by Melissa Hon. She was formely the Assistant to the City Manager, a position that has now been eliminated.