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Ask The Mayor: Bloomington's Mark Kruzan

In this week’s installment of Ask The Mayor, Indiana Newsdesk's Joe Hren visits Bloomington's Mark Kruzan at the Indiana Memorial Union where he spoke to the Rotary Club. The mayor talks about proposed state legislation that would affect Bloomington tenants and landlords, this year's road projects and his thought on whether IU Health Bloomington Hospital will move to another location.

Listen to their full conversation above. Here are some highlights:

Hren: I wanted to see if we could break down your two big initiatives this year, the switch-yard park and the certified technology park. Where are you today at the first of the year with those projects?

Kruzan: With the 12 acres (tech park) what we are doing now is negotiating with private investors for what they would like to do with that 12 acres. We hope to see tech related businesses but also a better demographic balance in housing. That it won't be more student housing. That it won't be more chain retail restaurants. That we'll have an investor willing to step forward and build that out in a way that is done with a community vision. We'll be working on infrastructure issues in 2015 ,but my hope is we'll have announcements to make in potential investors.

As for the switch-yard park, in 2015 we hope to convert the master plan into blue prints to actually get designed. The other is identify financing. That's the real challenge. If it's built out the way the master plan envisions, it's a $34 million development. Won't be using traditional tax dollars, won't be through the city budget, it'll be using TIF dollars to finance bonding.

Hren: Legislators are in full swing at the Indiana Statehouse, what bills are you keeping an eye on?

Kruzan: There's been efforts in the past to erode tenant rights and doing that by dismantling local governments to regulate rentals. We were able to exempt ourselves from having our tenant landlord housing code exempted grandfathered in the legislation that passed in 2014, but there's been a bill introduced this year we're watching to see if this might be an effort to try to take away that exception.

Hren: We've reported on road funding, INDOT asked for at least $100 million per year to fix the state's roads and bridges, are there any big road projects coming up in Bloomington this year?

Kruzan: There are a number of projects, but a lot of them are I-69 related projects. The first thing you'll see is Tapp Road being closed in March. You're going to see a tremendous increase overnight in congestion on existing roads. Then all the bike ped amenities with connectivity between east and west parts of town after I-69 is in and INDOT has been great to work with on that issue. The other huge one for us is Vernal Pike is going to be closed off. An overpass will be built instead of having an intersection.

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