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Chamber Offers Free Child Care During 4th St. Garage City Council Public Comment

Exterior of Bloomington city hall showers building in summer

Bloomington City Hall. ((Steve Burns, WFIU/WTIU News))

The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is offering free child care during Wednesday's City Council meeting.

The only agenda item is a proposal to demolish the Fourth Street parking garage and build a new one in its place.

Council had decided in December to repair structural damage to the garage. But the cost estimate came in more than expected, so council is now re-considering tearing it down to make way for a new structure. 

Chamber President and CEO Erin Predmore says they want parents to be able to give input on the project. 

"There is a need for people to be involved in the civic process regardless of their parenting status and we wanted to be able to remove that barrier for them," Predmore says. "What’s going to be considered tonight with the parking garage is very important regardless of what side you may be on."

The Chamber wants the city to build a new garage. They’re asking members to sign a petition in support of that position.

Critics of the garage worry – among other things – that it will encourage more people to drive downtown when the city should be focusing on alternative forms of transportation.

Predmore says they’ve heard from residents concerned that fewer parking options will lead to urban sprawl with new development focused outside downtown.

"And people will just do what is easier, where parking is an easier option for them," she says. "And it will hollow out downtown." 

City officials from Public Works and other departments will present their proposal to council Wednesday at 6:30, followed by public comment.

Council is expected to take a final vote next week.

Predmore says if there’s continued need for child care during city council meetings, they’ll try to offer it again in the future.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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