June 23, 2011
Bloomington City Council
City purchase of 12 acres from IU recommended by members
Council will vote next week on selling $13.76 million in bonds to pay for project costs
By Michael Malik
June 23, 2011, last update: 6/23 @ 12:21 am
Bloomington's purchase of 12 acres from Indiana University received a favorable recommendation from many on the city council Wednesday night.
Council members discussed legislation Wednesday that would sell $13.76 million in revenue bonds to cover the $9.3 million purchase of the land and $2.79 million for infrastructure improvements. The rest of the money would go to other costs associated with the project.
Council member Tim Mayer said purchasing the land gives the city a chance to look to the future and embrace the future in a way that hasn't been thought of yet.
"What that vision could potentially be would be the opportunity to have live work space in the site itself, opportunities for high tech development and creating a new center within our downtown," Mayer said. "It would bring more people to our downtown and bring more investment to our downtown."
City council members will vote on whether to issue the bonds next Wednesday.
City operating revenue, which funds employees' salaries and more, will not be used to pay off the bonds. City officials plan to use funds from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District and money from the resale of the land to make the payments.
Mayor Mark Kruzan said the city is not looking to turn the property around for income generating purposes.
"I do not want the city to become a landlord and be the owner of this property in perpetuity," Kruzan said. "I want the city government, much like we did with the Waldron, to be the steward of a property and turn it around to someone we know will be a good steward of that."
According to city documents, the city has plans to demolish the 86,000-square-foot IU Food Services building on the 12 acres, realign 10th Street so it is straighter and upgrade utility infrastructure.
The university has up to 18 months after the purchase to vacate the property.
Danise Alano-Martin, the city's director of economic and sustainable development, said once the purchase goes through the city will start making infrastructure improvements on the site.
While the infrastructure improvements are being made, a master planning process for the site will begin and will include community input, she said.
RELATED: City council OKs tax breaks
Lauren Spierer search: Only one of missing IU student's friends has called police with info, mom says
Police debunk "mysterious man" report from blogger
By Abby Tonsing
June 22, 2011, last update: 6/22 @ 3:52 pm
Charlene Spierer is disappointed that just one of her missing 20-year-old daughter's friends has called police with information regarding Lauren Spierer's June 3 disappearance.
"On June 3, my life changed forever," the mother of the missing student said, recalling the phone call from her husband that no parent wants to receive.
"That began a whole new days of our life, and this has become our normal. I don't even know what life was before June 3. I can't even tell you what that feels like to get that phone call that your daughter is missing," she said.
Spierer's mother expressed her extreme disappointment that "only one of Lauren's friends have called the police department, the Bloomington police department, with any information."
In an effort to make the process of providing information to police even more anonymous, Charlene Spierer said Wednesday morning the family has created a post office box for tips. Tips can now be mailed to Find Lauren, P.O. Box 1226, Bloomington, IN 47402-1226.
Bloomington police Capt. Joe Qualters said Wednesday they have completed their "second tier" of interviews with people close to Spierer. One, possibly two, of those interviews from that "extensive" group of people still need to happen, he said.
Police are now evaluating all of those interviews and looking for inconsistencies or for more information, Qualters said Wednesday.
Those who were directly with Spierer in the hours before her disappearance -- some of those people accompanied by local attorneys -- have also been interviewed by police.
Those "primary" people who had direct contact with Spierer may still need to be re-interviewed, Qualters said, after police "get together, compare notes."
"Mysterious Man" addressed
Qualters addressed a blogger's report of a "mysterious man" in the area of 10th and College at about 3:38 a.m. June 3. He said investigators have reviewed video evidence that does not support that either Spierer or anyone unknown to police was in that area at that time.
"What I'm here to tell you is that we have reviewed the video, not only the timeline that we have been using, ... and where Lauren does in fact appear ... she does appear in that video with someone that is already known to investigators. We have also reviewed it during the time period where it has been reported, essentially an hour later (at 3:38 a.m.), and we do not find any evidence that supports that information," Qualters said.
Qualters was addressing a blog post on TonyGatto.com. It says a female local bar manager reported seeing a mystery man throw an inebriated Spierer over his shoulder at Tenth and College at 3:38 a.m.
While Qualters said he had not spoken to this witness, he acknowledged the witness had been interviewed by police: "We had spoken with someone." He said investigators "do not have any video evidence that supports what had been reported by that particular witness." Witness accounts can be off, he said.
"I can't say that she didn't see Lauren," Qualters continued. "It does not appear that she saw Lauren at the time that was reported by other sources."
Police have reviewed an estimated 300 hours of video footage, Qualters said, and there's still more to review.
In the meantime, search efforts from McNutt residence hall continue daily from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Police estimated 50 people searched for Spierer on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, about 30 people went looking for Spierer.
Extra law enforcement and professional search and rescue personnel have committed their efforts, at least, through the weekend, Qualters said.
Members of the Indiana State Police continued to comb the northern portion of Monroe County and around Ind. 37 on Wednesday. They are not working off specific tips, Qualters said.
Qualters stressed that although police are meeting less frequently with the press, "This investigation is very much an ongoing situation."
Lauren Spierer search today in southern Monroe county
Police and others turned out for a sweep of southern Monroe County Thursday morning, part of a planned process of searching for IU student Lauren Spierer, 20, missing for nearly three weeks.
Official vehicles seen along exits from Ind. 37 near Harrodsburg were part of the search, local officials said.
Another search effort is planned for Saturday, which has been dubbed "Find Lauren Day."
In the meantime, search efforts from McNutt residence hall continue daily from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Volunteers may gather there.
Tips about Lauren Spierer's disappearance can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call the Bloomington Police Department at 812-339-4477. All tips given to this line may be given anonymously.
The "America's Most Wanted" tip line is 800-CRIMETV.
Tips can now be mailed to Find Lauren, P.O. Box 1226, Bloomington, IN 47402-1226.
Other information is available at www.findlauren.com.