politics

Neher delivers plan for downtown development



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Darryl Neher calls on Dave Rollo to ask questions during the Bloomington City Council meeting at City Hall on Wednesday night. The council was asking questions on TIF districts in Blooomington. Michael Williams and Michael Williams

Gathered inside the confines of City Hall on Monday morning, Democratic candidate for mayor Darryl Neher condemned out-of-state developers reshaping ?Bloomington.

In his press conference, Neher named Smallwood Plaza on North College Avenue as a prime example as what he sees as bad transformation in the Bloomington skyline.

“If we fail to act, we will continue to possibly lose Kirkwood, our courthouse square and even some of our neighborhoods to the shadow of other outside developments being built by out-of-state developers,” Neher said in a prepared statement.

Neher opened up his remarks with his document of the apartment complex and even referred to City Hall as the “Shadow of Smallwood.”

Barrett and Stockely, an Indianapolis-based property management company, owns Smallwood Plaza, home to many IU students.

Neher said he wants to discourage development in Bloomington that is similar to Smallwood that does not fit the cultural interest of the local community.

Neher, who answered questions after his press conference, said there is a difference between smart development that considers interest such as affordable housing options and development that just seeks to maximize profits.

“It’s when you see it’s a purely profit-driven motive to maximize rents — that becomes problematic and that’s what we need to protect ourselves against,” he said after the press ?conference.

Neher outlined a four-point plan in his statement that he said would curb the tide in outside development in Bloomington.

First, Neher proposed more community participation in the Growth Policies Plan. Second was to create a devolvement plan outside of Bloomington’s downtown. Third was to revise the city’s Unified Devolvement Ordinance, the law that governs the city’s development, and fourth was to require “clear expectations” for affordable housing for developers.

“We must seriously ?consider the long term opportunities for other areas of Bloomington,” Neher said, citing examples of the Certified Tech Park and Switchyard areas, both located outside the downtown area.

Neher, who currently represents District V on the Bloomington City Council in addition to his job as a senior lecturer at the Kelley School of Business, announced his candidacy for mayor Jan. 15.

“We are attracting developers from around the country,” he said in an interview after his press conference. “Look at the profit motive for those buildings and that doesn’t always come with an attention to character and interest of our community.”

The primary election date is set for Tuesday, May 5.

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