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Bloomington council agrees to outdoor dining when Restore Illinois Phase 3 starts Friday

BLOOMINGTON COUNCIL PIC 1

BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) - The Bloomington City Council is empowering the city manager to help businesses start functioning again starting Friday when Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan gets underway.

The council Tuesday night voted 9-0 to authorize City Manager Tim Gleason to allow for outdoor dining by temporarily closing public streets or other city right-of-ways including parking lots and alleys.

For Mayor Tari Renner, the council's action is the first step for making the community whole again.

"We want our businesses to survive and thrive. We want people to come back to work, but we want it to be safe," said Renner.

Renner said he and Council member Jamie Mathy met with downtown business owners prior to Tuesday night's virtual council session.

"They're interested and anxious to move forward as long as we are consistent with state guidelines and state law, and in some cases perhaps common sense," said Renner.

"We want to say to people, who want to be creative. You be creative, work with us," the mayor added.

"I think Tim (Gleason) and his team are going to do a great job, and show the community that we are easy to work with, that we want to be flexible under the difficult circumstances," said Council member Scott Black.

"There might be a misstep or two, but I don't care," said Black.

"I'd rather try it out and see what works," he added.

In other business, the council unanimously signed off, without discussion, on an agreement to pay a woman $55,000 after she spent 37 hours in an out-of-state jail earlier this year for a crime in Bloomington that she did not commit.

Someone who stole Lisa Gilmore's identity went to a Bloomington currency exchange last October to cash fraudulent checks. Bloomington Police obtained a warrant for Gilmore's arrest, and she was taken into custody in another state in February.

"After her arrest, additional information was presented and it became clear that Ms. Gilmore was a victim of identity theft and had nothing to do with fraudulent activity," the city attorney said in a report to the city council.

Howard Packowitz

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