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Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan

An ordinance suggested by Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan which would limit chain businesses in a retail corridor of the city is drawing what the mayor says are positive early reviews.  But the mayor is guarded about making exceptions to his proposal. The idea is to limit the number of chain or formula businesses which operate storefronts along Kirkwood Avenue and the courthouse square.  Kruzan said that even extends to franchises owned and operated locally but bearing distinctive traits of other chain outlets…

“Imagine in place of – name your favorite locally owned and operated restaurant – a local franchise that is truly controlled locally,” Kruzan said. “Having that franchise on that street would detract from its overall strength as a destination attraction.”

Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Kruzan said he heard from one local business owner who, while they wouldn’t be affected by the proposal, thinks exceptions should be made.  The mayor said it’s one of the few conversations he’s had with plan detractors, but he admits it’s likely not the last.

“As soon as we start to get an actual proposal in front of people, we’ll hear a lot more,” the mayor said. “Right now, it’s been more for than against.  But again, I tend to believe when you’re talking with people…people are more likely to say to you one-on-one that they’re supportive of what you’ve just announced.  So I don’t believe my own reviews.”

The mayor said he’d be open to amending the plan to include other areas of downtown, including 4th Street’s distinctive “Restaurant Row,” but says he thinks the area outlined in his current plan is more in danger of development by outside corporations.

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