BLOOMINGTON — City Manager Tim Gleason wants to keep it simple, so that's why he is backing a recommendation to sell city park land to the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal for $1.
The City Council will consider at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall whether to approve the proposed sale of 3.34 acres inside Sunnyside Park at the nominal cost for the development of the nonprofit club's new facility.
The club, which serves about 1,000 children and teens, wants to replace its existing clubhouse at 1615 W. Illinois St. with a new facility at the nearby 14-acre park located on the city's west side, where some of its lowest-income and most ethnically diverse neighborhoods are located.
"This was one of the first things I stepped into (after becoming city manager on July 23)," said Gleason. "It had been discussed a fair amount. I got brought up to speed and really our approach became: How to do we make this happen?
"It was too good of an opportunity for part of the community that has its challenges; to see this kind of investment hopefully provide something constructive, very positive for kids in that neighborhood."
City attorney Jeff Jurgens pointed out a lease would allow the city to retain control of the parkland and possibly allow the city to also use the new building. The building would be constructed on the site of an existing ball field, which would be moved to green space just west of the facility.
"We came to the decision of: Let's just make this real simple ... simply sell the property for a $1," said Gleason.
In exchange for the property, the club would improve the same amount of acreage on undeveloped city-owned land to the west of the park "as a level and usable open playing field," a city memo said.
"It's just sort of a can-do-attitude approach," said Gleason.
The city manager said he has not heard any opposition from aldermen.
"(They're) very supportive and comments to me have been they appreciate getting something in front of them to consider, and that will be on Monday night," said Gleason.
In other action Monday, the council:
• is expected to vote on whether the city will provide a low-income rental assistance program for four of approximately 57 affordable apartments for seniors that private developer Iceberg Development Group LLC of LeClaire, Iowa, is creating at the former Bloomington High School building, 510 E. Washington St.
The council will consider formally setting the city's rental assistance program at a maximum of $228,720 over the 10-year agreement or limited to $22,872 per year.
To bolster Iceberg's application for low-income housing tax credits through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the city pledged to provide rental assistance for four apartments.
IHDA has awarded tax credits for the project, which, along with federal historical tax credits, will be used to offset the developer's construction costs.
• will consider a budget amendment of $59,526 resulting from the cost to purchase nine 2019 SUVs to replace nine older police department squad cars, coming in higher than the budgeted amount. The vehicles are being purchased for $360,910 from Morrow Brothers Ford Inc., Greenfield, using a state joint purchase contract.
"Some of the packaging was a little bit higher than the original projection, but this was budgeted item," said Gleason.