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City Council approves agreement to purchase hospital property


Vauhxx Booker of Bloomington’s Black Lives Matter group speaks against the recent purchase of an armored truck by the City of Bloomington. He talked during the public report section of Wednesday’s Bloomington City Council meeting. Sam House

Plans for the buildings at the IU Health Bloomington Hospital were a focus at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

A new hospital is being constructed to replace the current hospital on Second Street. A resolution for an agreement between the City of Bloomington and IU Health to purchase the current site and its surrounding outlots was passed 9-0 at the meeting in the city council chambers. 

During the 20-minute public report section, protesters of the city’s recent purchase of an armored truck made statements. 

Vauhxx Booker, a member of Bloomington’s Black Lives Matter group, spoke about disproportionate use of force by police against black members of the community. 

“If you want to find the largest group of black people outside of Sunday, go to the jail,” he said.

Thomas Metcalf voiced his concern about the future of policing and the “continued unrepentant destruction of bodies of color.”

Shortly after the end of the reports section, the small group of protesters left the meeting.

The hospital buildings and lots are to be purchased in three installments, two of $2.5 million each and one of $1.5 million, for a total price of $6.5 million to be paid at different times over several years. All of the buildings around the main hospital site will be demolished, except for the garage and core administrative building.

The councilmembers raised questions about the stipulation the buildings not be used for competing medical practices in future. Councilmember Stephen Volan voiced concern about the practicality of restricting private doctors from having their offices in a building on the site. 

Philippa Guthrie, corporation counsel for Bloomington, said she didn’t know what the hospital would consider to be a competitor, and that she didn’t know whether they could define it either.

Councilmembers also voiced concern about issues of transparency with the hospital’s administration. 

“There’s been a couple situations where we’ve questioned the transparency of what happened,” said Councilmember Jim Sims.

His concern about transparency was echoed by several councilmembers, including Stephen Volan, who said he has begun to lose faith in this administration’s transparency. Despite their questions, the council was in favor of the plans for the hospital.

In addition to the hospital, the council discussed an ordinance regarding increased fence height limits and another relating to food truck licenses, both of which were passed.

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