BLOOMINGTON — Kroger will have another year to complete more than $1 million in infrastructure improvements for a proposed $24.5 million new store in northeast Bloomington, which the grocery chain placed on hold in January 2018.
In a recent letter sent to the city, Kroger asked for the extension to complete public improvements identified in a final plat for the commercial subdivision the City Council approved on Feb. 13, 2017.
"While the store project is still under review, we want to fulfill the infrastructure commitment we made to the city," Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson said in an email sent Friday to The Pantagraph.
The City Council granted on Monday the extension for Kroger to add an eastbound right turn Lane on College Avenue near Hershey Road along with sidewalk, sewer and bus shelter improvements. The measure was approved unanimously without discussion as part of the council's consent agenda.
Kroger proposed the new store, which would be east of Veterans Parkway, in 2016 to replace its store on College Avenue west of Veterans Parkway in Normal, but placed the project on hold last year. The new site is located across the street from the Meijer store, which is located in Normal.
City Manager Tim Gleason said he would support, with council authorization, reinstating economic incentives for Kroger that were voided by city staff prior to Gleason beginning his job in July 2018.
Community Development Director Bob Mahrt and then-interim City Manager Steve Rasmussen sent Kroger a notice in April 2018 terminating the economic incentive agreement because the company did not meet the deadlines for construction to begin.
In its final form, the agreement that began in February 2016 and amended in December of that year called for the city to rebate $2.45 million in sales tax over 10 years in exchange for starting construction on a 128,000-square-foot store by Jan. 31, 2018.
In other action Monday night, the council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance creating a technology commission to advise the city on technology matters.
The creation of the seven-member commission was requested by Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy,
"My goal with the technology committee was to bring together some of Bloomington's smartest and brightest folks to talk about what's next, where is technology going, and what the city can do to make use of things that we already have in place regarding wireless and infrastructure and things of that nature," said Mathy.
Anyone interested in serving on the committee must submit an application to the city clerk's office. Mayor Tari Renner will review the applications and select those for council approval.
The commission will be subject to the Illinois Open Meetings Act, opening all its meetings to the public.