Normandale Lake

Photo courtesy Jason Bates.

Mayor’s memo: Bloomington rising to the challenge in face of uncertainty

By Mayor Tim Busse

I hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy. Continuing to adhere to social distancing and other guidelines that are in place will help us flatten the curve of COVID-19. We’re really appreciative of the sacrifice and work that it takes to do that. 

We’re encouraging people to get outside and enjoy our parks and trails safely and wisely, maintaining that social distance. City Council and City staff have modified operations to keep a safe distance. We held our first-ever remote Council meeting last month with councilmembers calling in and taking public comments over the phone. 

 At its April 6 meeting, the City Council extended the local emergency declaration to June 30 in order to officially authorize continuation of the City’s emergency operations plan. The extension of the emergency declaration does not affect decisions about stay-at-home orders or business closures. These are made at the state level.

On March 16, the City Council consented to a local emergency declaration, effective for a 30-day period, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration formally authorizes the City to implement its emergency operations plan. The plan describes the basic strategies the City uses to mobilize resources and conduct activities to guide and support our local emergency management efforts. 

Know that during the pandemic, work at the City continues with careful measures in place. Police, Fire and Public Works are out providing essential City services residents would expect to see on a daily basis. Other City staff are working behind the scenes. 

If you need City services, you can call the main line at 952-563-8700. Someone will be there to answer your questions. Another option is to visit the City website at
blm.mn/covidresources where you’ll find a list of sources for reliable COVID-19 information. 

While most City services continue to function, some are on hold because the facilities are no longer open to the public. Creekside Community Center, Bloomington Ice Garden, the Center for the Arts, Motor Vehicle and Civic Plaza were closed in March. The decisions to close were based on the most recent set of facts and recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bloomington’s response to COVID-19 was also the focus of the first-ever State of the Community presentation held in March. I along with other City officials and local community leaders provided real-time information during the event, which replaced the annual State of the City address.  

The State of the Community also included updates from Bloomington Public Schools, Normandale Community College, VEAP, Oasis for Youth and Cornerstone Advocacy Service. Representatives provided updates on how the pandemic has changed their organizations and the need for collaboration. 

For some time now, I’ve been an advocate for aligning the goals, strategies and resources of Bloomington, including all community partners. If we could work in partnership, to identify needs and assets, propose solutions and pilot new approaches, we would be a much stronger community. Sometimes a crisis helps to push talk into the realm of action, and I see that opportunity here.

One thing I know is that Bloomington comes together in times of crisis. While the situation is constantly changing with unprecedented measures in place, we will all get through this because of our strength as a community.

As the situation changes, keep informed through the City’s website and social media accounts.