Bloomington Council decides to keep ownership of alley; offer made for police chief

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Monday night Bloomington leaders decided to hang on to a piece of land… for now.

Council voted 5-4 in favor of vacating a piece of city-owned land without a traditional compensation to a private citizen, essentially giving it away for free. However, the motion needed 3/4th (7 votes) approval to pass, therefore it failed.

The land in question is an alleyway in the 500 Block of East Jackson St in the city’s first ward. The city was hoping to give the alley to a man whom owns three houses on the street, with plans to maintain the alley.

City staff supported giving away the land because it costs $200-500 to maintain, and a total repavement of the current pile of rocks and cracked pavement would cost over $1000. Staff argued by giving it away, the land would get new use and the city would save on repairing a land it currently has no plans for.

However, some council members believed it was a benefit of one, not many.

“I’m not against vacating, I think that’s important. He’s asking for a private driveway, basically to access what appears to be his personal residence. I do think the city should be compensated, but maybe not at the $9000 mark.” Bloomington Council member Donna Boelen said.

“I’m not entirely convinced that paving over more green space in our city is a common good. I am increasingly becoming convinced that more green space is better than less green space,” Bloomington Council member Molly Ward said.

In other news, City Manager Tim Gleason announced he has made an offer to the two finalists for the city’s open police chief position.

Gleason would not name who.

He said he hopes to have a press release “later this week.”

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