Parking Garage Automation Updates

The City of Bloomington is pleased to announce Parking Garage Access Improvements at all three city-owned parking decks located in Downtown Bloomington.
Improvements will include technology upgrades featuring automated entry and exit stations, security cameras, safety signage, and electronic pay stations for customer safety and convenience. It is important that security is kept as tight as possible in areas such as this to ensure customer safety at all times not just personally but for their cars too. Installing an alarm system in various sections can help monitor the areas that need maximum coverage and will be discussed.

Monthly Parking Customers will be issued a new access pass, used to both enter and exit the garages. The proximity card must be held within a few inches of the sensors to activate the new gates.
* If you haven’t already done so, please trade in current pass for a new one at the City Parking Division, located in the Community Development Department, 2nd floor of the Government Center.

Daily Parking Customers (LINCOLN GARAGE ONLY) will need to pull a ticket to enter the garages, and those tickets must be retained in order to exit the garage. To exit, customers will have two options to pay for parking; A) Take the ticket to a pay station, and make the necessary payment using cash, credit or debit or B) Utilizing the exit lanes, Insert ticket into the exit station and pay the necessary parking fee – credit or debit only.

Arena Garage: All gates will remain open at all times. Public Parking will be free for use 4 hours per day, once per day. Lot will be patrolled every 4 hours * Security cameras at entry and exit devices.

Market Street Garage: All gates will be lowered Monday thru Friday at 7 am. All gates will be raised Monday thru Friday at 4 pm, and will remain open on weekends. FREE parking on lower level, 4 hours, once per day. Lot will be patrolled every 4 hours.*Security cameras on entry and exit devices.

Lincoln Garage: All gates EXCEPT the former booth exit gate will be lowered Monday thru Friday at 7 am. Former booth exit gate will be lowered Monday thru Friday at 9 am.
All gates will be raised Monday thru Friday at 6 pm and will remain open on weekends. This lot will be patrolled hourly for parking violations. * There will be no parking attendant on site, but HELP buttons on all devices will provide 24-7 assistance.*Security cameras on entry and exit devices.
Lost ticket: Customers who have lost their ticket may push the “lost ticket” button on the pay station or exit station in the exit lane. A $10 fee is charged

QUESTIONS? Contact Cheryl Dawdy at 309-434-2207

A New Year Begins – Hello 2016

There’s something so inspiring about the arrival of spring. Each year, after winter’s much needed slumber, life returns. Trees begin to bud, the green returns to the grass and we look forward to the opportunities that come to us with renewed energy and optimism. Reflecting on our accomplishments in 2015, and documenting our continuing efforts for the first quarter of 2016, I am grateful to all of you for supporting downtown Bloomington, and the efforts of the Downtown Bloomington Association. Our hard working business owners go above and beyond to provide their guests with very personal, one-of-a-kind experiences that lead not only to repeat business, but, more often than not, life long friendships. First Friday attendance is on the rise, and there’s a renewed spirit of collaboration that can be seen and experienced on every corner. As our city grows through BN Advantage, its a great time to be Downtown. Exciting Change is on our horizon, and we look forward to continuing our work with our community partners and with the City of Bloomington. As a new feature of our website, I would like to invite you to keep up with what we’re working on by visiting the New Meetings and Reports page. On it you will find our 2015 Annual Report, our 2016 First Quarter report, and Board of Directors meeting minutes. I welcome your feedback and encourage you to become more actively involved in our organization – We will find a spot for you! Thank you again for your continued support. Our members make all things possible!

It Takes A Village…

Looking back, the DBA has much to celebrate in 2015. We continue to guide visitors to our city center through our regular events, 27 Outdoor Farmers’ Markets, 6 Indoor winter markets, 12 First Fridays and Downtown Trick or Treat. We also continued our efforts to beautify our historic district through public art and urban gardening. We added tree well gardens to our landscape, and installed 2 new murals featuring the works of local artists. We also worked with community partners, the Bloomington Normal Association of Realtors to add Bike Racks, and air pump and cycle fix it station to the square, and added cigarette butt receptacles through a grant from Mid Central Community Action.

None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of our volunteers, and the generous support of our DBA members. Here’s to you. Thank you!

Farmers’ Market Team     Design Committee   Downtown Ambassadors    
Derrick Billings                     Martha Burk                Jean Bruner Jachino
Gemma Billings                   Joann Goetzinger        Martha Smith
Marisa Brooks                     Valerie Dumser            Kirsten Ringer
Don Necessary                   Kathi Builta                   Joel Neal
Theresa Necessary            Marlene Gregor            Ruth Haney
Morgan Schulte                   Nancy Isaacson           Jan Lancaster
Joel Neal                              Karen Schmidt             Michele Pugh
Brad Dearing                        Pamala Eaton
Lindsey Powell
Rachel Wickart

Promotions Committee             Economic Vitality       Organization
Carmen Shaffer                              Austin Grammer        Bobby Castillo
Morgan Schulte                              Ken Springer              Jonell Kehias
Marisa Brooks                                Aimee Ingalls             Georgia Bouda
Tiffany Anderson                            Amy Denham             Justin Boyd
Nina Gorden                                   Larry Johnson           Jack Bataoel
Levi Champion                                Reg Bernard             Jamie Mathy
Catherine Dunlap                           Jeff Woodard
Julie Kubsch                                   David Park
Jeffrey Sherwood                           Joe Haney
J Balmer
Joel Neal
Jeremy Plue

DBA Members 2015

Dave and Brad Park Park Stoutamoyer
Rick Kline Country Financial
Bobby Vericela RJV Properties
Margaret Davis Epiphany Farms
Gaye Beck Beck’s Family Florist
Andy Streenz Bill’s Key and Lock
Ruth and Joe Haney Haney Rental
Elizabeth Bobzbay
Amy Hoffmann That Dapper Pet Boutique and Grooming Spa
Jennifer Boddie J Bo’s Handbags
Russel Francois Francois Associates
Nancy Ammerman Heartland Bank
Herb and Pam Eaton Eaton Gallery
Sandy Vogel Vogel’s Tailor Shop
Brad and Ronda Glenn Glenn Law Offices
Jeff Secord IPI Wealth Management
Mike Dolan Pantagraph Printing
Marianne Minis A Dash of Splash
Kelly Mathy Kelly’s Bakery and Café
Vicki Tilton Permanent Makeup
Bob and Sue Floyd West Bloomington Residents
Sallie Boyce Heritage Enterprises
Georgia Bouda Bloomington Public Library
Kyle Ham Economic Development Council
Marlene Gregor Gregor Gallery
Julie Workman Mid-Illini Credit Union
Crystal Howard CVB
Denise Geske Fox & Hounds
Terry Small Crossroads
Char Huff /Mel Walker Char Huff
Tim Nurnberger Timothy Kent Gallery
Ron Crick Downtown Resident
Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio
Jamie Mathy Red Raccoon Games
Merle and Carol Huff Ensenberger Building
Karen Schmidt Alderman, Ward 6
Julie Kubsch Specs Around Town
Sherri Strandberg Strand Salon

 Jeff Little Mural IINEw BNARS Bike Rack Ashley mural IL HOUSE  BNARS fix it station Heritage Tree Well Heritage Scarecrow DBA Cruis in FrontTour De Metro graphic FM_Logo_Final_for_Website

DT Trivia logo 15


There’s Life Downtown!

For many, Memorial Day weekend is the official start of the summer season. Pools open, decks get scrubbed, container plants are in full bloom, and people welcome a chance to reconnect with their friends and neighbors after a long winters’ nap. This is especially true in downtown Bloomington, where people love to spend weekends at our award winning Farmers’ Market, participate in an outdoor painting festival, or simply sit and relax in an outdoor cafe, enjoying an evening meal or an iced latte.
This summer we have a great lineup of fun planned for you downtown – On June 6 we welcome the return of the Bloomington Route 66 Cruise-In event – Classic, antique and vintage vehicles will be on display throughout the square, and there will be live music by The Shakes. The Cruisin’ With Lincoln on 66 Visitor’s Center will be open at the Museum of History, as they continue their Grand Opening Celebrations! If you haven’t checked it out yet, you are in for a TREAT!

The Annual GLT Summer Concert is the best street party in town. We close down the corner of Jefferson & Center Streets in downtown Bloomington, IL and invite you to spend the evening with us. Cold beer, festival food, and some of the best music you’ll ever hear.
5:00 pm – Doug MacLeod 6:30 pm – the Hot Sardines 8:30 pm – Jason D. Williams

And Don’t Forget our regular FIRST FRIDAY evenings – each month we extend or business hours and invite you to check us out. Did you know we have more than 35 specialty retailers. 19 eateries, from fine dining to pub favorite, Major entertainment venues,  25 art galleries, and 15 great night spots including a brand new jazz cafe? That’s right – Jazz UP Front officially opens Wednesday,May 27  at 107 W. Front Street ( formerly Mugshots). Great live music in a contemporary urban setting.

Plan some Down Time today, and visit your City Center. We’ve got something for everyone.

Brrr! Baby it’s COLD outside!

As I write this, its a whole 8 degrees outside with a wind chill factor of minus 10. Winter is definitely upon us! Rather than dwell on that, I’d rather think about our upcoming February First Friday, and the Tour de Chocolat’! As one of our premiere First Fridays, the tour provides another great excuse for you to meet your downtown merchants and artists, who invite you in for some sweet treats and cocoa while you shop! The event also showcases the culinary skills of some budding local chefs through our “Chocolate Challenge” competition! Both amateurs and professionals are welcome to enter a sweet or savory menu item to be judges by local celebrities. The ONLY requirement is that all entries contain chocolate. That’s IT! How do you incorporate chocolate into your favorites? You would be surprised by how many different ways this mystical ingredient can be used to enhance an entrée!

If you are a fan of First Fridays and wish to become part of the dynamic team that helps us to plan and implement these events each month, we would LOVE to have you! The Promotions Committee, under the leadership of Carmen Shaffer, meets once a month at Main Street Yoga. The next meeting will be January 13, at 7:45 pm.


Show off your Hometown!

As 2014 races to the finish line, I am inspired to share something recently overheard as I was leaving one of our downtown venues (The BCPA) after attending an amazing event. ( The Illinois Symphony Holiday Pops concert with Circus Flora)  ” Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a community that so many people enjoy? ” asked a well dressed mother of her adolescent child. “Yeah, I guess, ” offered the child, with a half smile. After a pause for reflection, he looks up and adds, “that was pretty cool, mom,” to which she replied ” We are richly blessed.”

I smiled quietly, because this was NOT the first time I’ve overheard this sentiment, and I’m certain it won’t be the last. From legendary entertainers like the Spinners or Kenny Rogers, to wunderkinds like Matthew Curry or Tallan Noble Latz, downtown Bloomington provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable evening with family and friends. As you consider last minute gifts this holiday season, be sure to check out special offers from the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, and The US Cellular Coliseum. This would be a great way to show off your hometown!

Lots of great things coming our way in 2015 – Join us!  be a part of the scene. We’d love that!

On behalf of the Downtown Bloomington Association, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a magical and memorable New Year! Thank you for your continued support!


Blog Entry – Thankful reflections


For most people, we’ve reached that time of year that invites reflection. Its a time to take an honest look back and celebrate successes, acknowledge challenges and pause to give thanks for them both. The Downtown Community said goodbye to a few businesses this year – Businesses that were integral in putting us on the map, and helping us to become the dynamic destination we are today. Thank you for everything, Lancaster’s. We will never forget you. Thanks too, to Percy Echols, who helped us all look good. Enjoy your retirement! We also send our best wishes to Mike Gardner and  LAUGH – Kokomo is lucky to have you – and to Another Word For,  and of course our Chocolatier… I hope your new locations are serving you well!

On the other hand, we welcome and give thanks for our new downtown family members! Welcome to Mid City Salon, and Dash of Splash! Welcome Meltdown Creative Works and Windy City Wieners! Welcome to The Coffee Grindery and Top Notch Event Planning. We are  so glad you have chosen to do business downtown!You’ve joined a community of caring professionals dedicated to both customer and community service; Friends, neighbors, colleagues, all working to promote and preserve our city center.We also give thanks to those who have chosen to live downtown. We appreciate your enthusiasm, and thank you for supporting the businesses that surround you. We’re glad you’re here!

Finally, we give thanks to our city partners, especially the city departments of Public Works and Parks Recreation and Cultural Arts for all of their continued support and assistance.  I’m always amazed by all that we can accomplish when we work together!

Best wishes one and all for a glorious holiday. To you we give our heartfelt thanks!

10419593_10205507465472840_1244665699460840769_n (2) 10624820_10205507465112831_8922385101714421954_n 6e2213cb-a483-4848-8d74-5b6011cd385d


BLOG ENTRY – Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday 14 

...”So go downtown! Things will be great when you’re downtown – No finer place for sure. Downtown – Everything’s waiting for you!” 

I love this empowering anthem. I want to sing it, no SHOUT it out to those who haven’t yet discovered all that downtown Bloomington has to offer! ( I know – that’s hard to imagine!) If you are someone who only ventures downtown when you get called to serve jury duty, I invite you to check us out on November 29 – SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY – 29 of our small, locally owned businesses are waiting to meet you with a variety of special offers and something you really can’t put a price tag on – one on one personal customer service. Our merchants truly care about your downtown experience, and look forward to helping you with your holiday and personal purchases. Make a day of it! Visit an art gallery, get a massage, enjoy a delicious nosh and make some new friends – Downtown. EVERYTHING’S WAITING FOR YOU… Small Business Saturday Map 2014

Welcome to the Director’s Blog!

When I listen to my favorite carols of the season, which, despite the current trend, does not happen until after Thanksgiving, I am always the most nostalgic when I hear the strains of “Silver Bells.”  “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style…in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.” Those opening lyrics take me back to my childhood, when it was my family’s tradition to bundle up and take to our seats in the Country Squire Station Wagon, to, as my father would say, “Go look at the lights.”

For us, that meant traveling from our suburban home on the south side of Chicago into the Windy City. Our destination?  State and Washington Streets, home of Marshall Field and Company and their magnificent animated windows. I can’t remember now if we ever even noticed the cold, or the long lines or the crowds. But I can say with confidence that we all noticed the magic, and that we all still believe.

Now, far too many years later, I love that our city’s center strives to recapture that magic for this community. This year the DBA, along with Bloomington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts is thrilled to be bringing back the tradition of lighting a community tree – the giant evergreen at Wither’s Park – which we’ll do to kick off our Once Upon a Holiday weekend, December 5 & 6. Carolers will provide a festive backdrop for Mayor Tari Renner when he officially lights up the park at 5:30 pm on Friday December 5. Carolers will then guide people with song into the downtown, where the merchants await to delight you with their LIVE Window Vignettes, our own nostalgic nod to Marshall Field, as well as shopping specials and dedicated, personal customer service that sets our small business owners apart.

On Saturday, December 6, the Jaycees Holiday parade makes its way downtown, which is a great lead-in to the McLean County Museum of History’s annual celebration, “Christmas at the Courthouse.” Talented local community groups will be at the Museum from 11-4 filling the historic rotunda with song, merriment and lots of delightful baked goods! Looking for that one-of-a-kind gift? Downtown Bloomington is home to more than 20 local artists-in-residence who invite you to give the gift of art, for any occasion!


Downtown Holidays at a glance:

Now through January 2 – McLean County Arts Center Holiday Treasures Show and Sale November 22   Indoor Thanksgiving Farmers’ Market  – US Cellular Coliseum November 22 – Illinois Symphony Holiday Pops Concert – Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts December 4 – A Kenny Rogers Christmas  – US Cellular Coliseum December 4 – City of Bloomington Holiday Concert –  Miller Park Pavilion December 5 & 6 – Once Upon a Holiday Weekend – Downtown                             Dec. 5 – Tree Lighting/ Carolers/ Live Windows/Carriage Rides                             Dec. 6 – Holiday Parade/ Christmas at the Courthouse December 5-7 –   The Pantagraph’s Holiday Spectacular Variety show – At the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts  (BCPA) December 6 – Bloomington Parks and Recreation Ugly Sweater Run through Miller Park December 9 – A Celtic Christmas – Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts December 12 – A Christmas Carol – Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts December 13 – Christmas at the Mansions  Historic Homes Tour (various sites) December 20 Dailey and Vincent Christmas Show ( Bluegrass)  BCPA