Bloomington City Council approves park sale, partnership for aff - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Bloomington City Council approves park sale, partnership for affordable housing

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What Bloomington should do with the historic former Bloomington High School building, finished in 1917, and if they should sell land to the Boys & Girls Club were some of the items on the council agenda Monday.

A public-private partnership to convert the old Bloomington high school building into affordable housing, a $17 million dollar project, would cost the city around $225,000, for four units, over 10 years.

"This is a huge win for the city because a lot of time things are sold to private owners and then they are abandoned because their big plans don't always go the way that they expect them to and then the city is saddled with a building that is falling and in decay," Bloomington City Manger Tim Gleason said.

The city would even plan to help with rent for some of the tenants, age 55 and up.

Also on the agenda, the sale of Sunnyside Park, for one dollar, to a growing, local Boys & Girls Club 

"Over the past 5 years we have grown in the community dramatically to a point where we've increased our membership by over 400%. After our second week we've had to create a waiting list for our members," Bloomington-Normal Boys & Girls Club CEO Tony Morstatter.

"We love the neighborhood that we live in a lot of the members that come to the Boys & Girls Club are from our immediate neighborhood. We believe that we belong in Sunnyside Park," he continued.

The park will be their new home as the council approved the sale, with some requirements.

"The Boys & Girls Club will take like space, a little bit more than three acres, adjacent to their project site and turn that into a green space so our city parks and recreation still have that space for other recreational opportunities," Gleason said. 

The new Boys & Girls Club building will have three wings: education, arts and culture and recreation .. With hopes of opening within the next five years and one day serving over 1000 kids per day.

As for the old Bloomington High School building, no word yet on when those units will be available for seniors eligible to rent.

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