No harm can come from a citizen task force formulating the Forward 2040 Comprehensive Plan for the city but I suspect that the Bloomington City Council will give attractive developers exemptions from the plan when its said and done.
The first task force session Wednesday Dec. 7 was the usual Power Point statistics and the January meeting in the City Hall will include a facilitator. The comprehensive plan document may be required for cities seeking grants and aid from the state and federal governments.
I see Bloomington as part of a greater conurbation that also includes Edina, Richfield and beyond.
Many Bloomington residents call the Southdale YMCA in Edina their community center serving toddlers to seniors. For meetings, lectures and reference room help we look a few blocks north of the YMCA to the regional Southdale Library. Edina is where we go for health care with the Fairview Southdale Hospital and adjacent satellite clinics.
The 2040 Task Force would be wise to do a France Avenue bus tour. North of I-494 dense commercial and residential development dominates the landscape where urban density “claustrophobia” has been experienced by some Edina residents testifying at a recent meeting to discuss plans for demolition of the regional library. Neighboring Richfield homeowners have concerns from this York Avenue plan that include aggressive commercial use of public property.
South of I-494 on France Avenue is Bloomington with three churches, a pristine lake and marshland where the fog rises in the fall. On this serene suburban landscape can be found a college campus, the dated unappealing Valley View Shopping Center and a planned unit development that replaced Andy’s Tap, an iconic venue where residents met, drank and dined.
I am aware that the 2040 plan coordinators held meetings this summer including one in a school cafeteria in August without air conditioning.
Similar task forces in Edina and Richfield should join with the Bloomington group and discuss the similarities and difference in their plans and then report to the public.