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BLOOMINGTON — While the City Council is not committed to funding $7.4 million in projects listed in a new 10-year brick streets master plan, it has approved paying consultant services for restoring of one block of Monroe Street.

Monroe Street between Clinton and Robinson streets was estimated to cost $839,000, which was higher than city Public Works staff initially anticipated.

That caused the plan's total estimated cost over 10 years to be revised from $5 million to about $7.4 million, said Public Works Director Jim Karch.

The council voted 6-3 Monday to approve Ward 6 Alderman Karen Schmidt's suggestion to adopt the master plan, but without specifying any spending levels. Instead, brick streets will be considered when the city prioritizes its overall infrastructure needs.

During a lengthy discussion, a majority of the aldermen expressed concerns about committing to the funding levels without first having a larger discussion on the budget and infrastructure needs. 

Ward 9 Aldermen Kim Bray, Ward 8 Alderman Diana Hauman, and Scott Black of Ward 7 voted against the plan as proposed by Schmidt. Black said he favored a brick streets master plan with the proposed funding levels included.

Bray, Hauman and Ward 2 Alderman David Sage voted against awarding a $179,024 contract to Hanson Professional Services Inc. to provide engineering services needed before bids can be sought to restore the Monroe Street block as a brick street.

Out of 41 miles of brick streets that the city once had, only 3.5 miles remain.

In other action, the council:

  • Voted 7-2 to approve a $910,156 contract with Heartland Parking Inc. to replace obsolete parking access control equipment in all three of the city's parking garages. The new access control system will be automated, including payment with credit cards or debit cards. Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy and Black opposed the measure.
  • Voted unanimously to limit parking in the Government Center parking lot, 155 E. Front St., to two hours a day. The change was proposed after city staff learned that some people were using the lot for long-term parking by moving from space to space in the lot throughout the day in order to circumvent the two-hour time limit.

Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @pg_nagle

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Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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