The Bloomington City Council unanimously approved the development of the proposed Certified Technology Park Wednesday. \nThe 66-acre park is designed to increase Bloomington's funds for developing public areas, to allow new small businesses the opportunity to flourish and to bring high technology and life-science firms to the town. The project is being funded by contributions from the city of Bloomington, state grants and IU. \n"(The park) is an allocation tool to give us funds and resources to grow in business and technology," said Ron Walker, director of economic development.\nThe technology park has North Rogers and West Eleventh streets running through the center. Part of the project will be erecting pedestrian and biking trails with the help of state grants, according to the council's weekly packet memo.\nOne of the other big components of the park, which IU will spend $50,000 annually to help fund, is a "small business incubator" called InVenture .\n"A small business incubator offers shared services for businesses, which makes everything cheaper for them," Walker said. "For example, all of the business in the building will share copy machines and printing, along with conference rooms and media outlets. There will also be business counselors to support the small businesses, and one receptionist to answer all of the businesses' phones." \nInVenture and the Small Business Development Center -- an additional business-friendly tool for the park -- will help companies that spin off from the University, Walker said.\nHe said another major benefit the park has to offer Bloomington is the tax system for businesses in the park.\n"We aren't really expecting a big growth in sales tax," Walker said. "But, (the city) is aiming for employment growth, and a growth in payroll taxes."\nThe designation of the area as a technology park puts payroll taxes - usually collected by the state government - into a fund specifically for the city, he said. The fund's oversight is the sole discretion of the City's Redevelopment Commission, and can only be used to fund public projects.\nWalker said possible uses for the fund included parking facilities, and necessary infrastructures to expand business growth. \nTim Mayer, an at-large councilman, said the city has historically exploited state business incentives designed to stimulate local economic growth.\n"Bloomington, for many years, has led the state in taking advantage of state programs (such as the development of a technology park)," Mayer said. " ... Clearly, objectively, Bloomington is business friendly."\n-- Contact City & State Editor Mike Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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