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Ask The Mayor: Hamilton On Cook Announcements; Sanitation Changes

Cook Pharmica headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana.

Cook Group's two major announcements and impact on Bloomington, the need for convention center space, what to do with former garbage receptacles and extra trash stickers and 75 percent of existing city water mains are more than 50 years old.

On this week's installment of Ask The Mayor, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below. A portion of this segment airs 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. Wednesday on WFIU.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Hren: Residents are receiving their new waste and recycling carts, I'm guessing the questions asked the most are when to switch over, what to do with previous receptacles and what about those extra trash stickers?

Hamilton: Putting out 35,000 new carts takes a little time, we want to get them all out to everybody before we kick the new system in the week of October 2. So we ask not to use the new carts yet. The new carts are too heavy to lift for people and we're automating October 2. So you won't need a sticker and you can use your carts.

Hren: Just announced Tuesday, Cook Group is selling Pharmica but buying the former GE plant, how will this impact Bloomington?

Hamilton: This is a big day in Bloomington. It's their choice to buy the GE plant, almost double their footprint, commit to major expansion in Bloomington. Then second is the choice of Catalent to buy Cook Pharmica and to be a third life science company to come into the area.

Both Catalent and Cook plan to expand what they're doing, this is Cook's commitment to local workforce. They are making a major commitment in helping local residents climb up the ladder of economic opportunity with high school diplomas, college degrees and technical training leading to a job. It's really exciting to think about the opportunities.

Hren: We received an email from Susan. She writes, would the Mayor consider incorporating more speed bumps in various areas and consider sending representatives to other cities such as Portland, OR and Boulder, CO, to learn about how these cities have successfully integrated commuter biking programs? Our city needs more infrastructure (designated biking lanes) on major roads and an active outreach program.

Hamilton: Absolutely yes. The City of Bloomington is on a path to continue to expand pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. We invest in that every year. We're proud of our status - working on a platinum bicycle city. There are only a handful of those in the country. But there's always more to do. Learning from other cities is important.

Hren: Stuart also sent us an email. He writes, the Indiana Center for Recovery recently opened a private addictions treatment facility for up to 56 patients in the near west side of Bloomington. Do you think this facility is a good fit for our community?

Hamilton: That's a good question. I haven't been to visit it yet, haven't met with the principle's of that yet. There's a great need for a whole range of services. So having additional capacity here is really important. We have a methadone clinic planned the state is supporting next year. Integrating them all with the systems we have right now is important. The jury is out yet, I don't personally know how that operation is working.

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