Community based strategic planning
Bloomington. Tomorrow. Together. is a community based strategic planning initiative that connects City representatives and residents to shape the future of Bloomington.
City representatives will work with community members at every stage of the process:
- Understanding who and what Bloomington is
- Forming a unifying mission statement and strategic objectives
- Action-planning priorities for implementation
- Identifying measurements for success
This plan will be effective for five years and reviewed annually.
The City of Bloomington is initiating a strategic planning effort that will involve the community in planning Bloomington’s future. The initiative “Bloomington. Tomorrow. Together.” asks residents to volunteer to help design a strategic plan. City representatives will work in partnership with members of the community at every stage of the process, from the initial stages of understanding who and what Bloomington is; through creation of a mission statement and strategic objectives; to planning the priorities for implementation; to identifying the measurements for success.
Since fall of 2021 hundreds of voices from the community and City have joined together to create a five-year strategic plan that will help guide the City as it works to cultivate an enduring and remarkable Bloomington.
Greetings and welcome to the Bloomington Core Planning Team!
Bloomington. Tomorrow. Together. That last word is especially important. Working toward an intended future for the community is work that takes many hands. Finding consensus on a vision of Bloomington where everyone can see themselves thriving will be a powerful way to build an even greater sense of community than exists today.
This community’s past and present are the building blocks of the future. These building blocks can form solid structures, but there is something that has to hold them together. In this case, it is you and the other members of the Core Planning Team and the unifying mission we are about to create. Through this process, we will set a course for the future and we will create supporters who encourage the work, stakeholders who urge us to move forward and champions who will cheer us to success.
By accepting membership to the Core Planning Team you have accepted a shared responsibility in the development of a plan that creates an intended future for Bloomington. Your presence and contribution to this process of transformation will be forever recognized as a distinct turning point in the history of our community. Author Peter Block best sums up our mission in his book titled Community: The Structure of Belonging:
The essential challenge is to transform the isolation and self-interest within our community into connectedness and caring for the whole. The key is to identify how this transformation occurs. We begin by shifting our attention from the problems of community to the possibility of community. We also need to acknowledge that our wisdom about individual transformation is not enough when it comes to community transformation. So, one purpose here is to bring together our knowledge about the nature of collective transformation. A key insight in this pursuit is to accept the importance of social capital to the life of the community. This begins the effort to create a future distinct from the past.
To help inform our work, we have compiled this data book. In addition to the input of Bloomington residents who participated in numerous community café discussions, you’ll learn more about the services we provide as a City, the resources that abound in our community, and the amenities that residents, businesses and visitors have come to appreciate. Please take time to read this material prior to our first meeting.
On behalf of the Bloomington City Council and our entire community, thank you for the contribution of your time and your talent. We look forward to your active and enthusiastic participation.
- Jan Almquist
- Jon Anderson
- Nancy Brewster
- Erika Brown
- Tim Busse
- Dana Chou
- Kimberly Clauson
- Steve Gurney
- Faith Jackson
- Brendan Klein
- Dwayne Lowman
- Patrick Martin
- Luis Martinez
- Eric Melbye
- Sarah Merriman
- Nur Mood
- Chao Moua
- Shamil Mirza
- Amos Olivarez
- JC St. Onge-Holm
- Mary Rathsabandith
- Priscilla Roberts
- Kendra Rysan
- Ron Sarat
- Jamie Schumacher
- Mara Stauffacher
- Emma Struss
- Ann Marie Terpstra
- Jamie Verbrugge
- Alison Warren
Facilitators: Teresa Arpin and Stephen Barone, Transformation Systems, Ltd.
- October – November, 2021: Community Cafes
- October 16 – Kennedy High School
- October 26 – St. Michael’s Lutheran Church
- October 28 – Virtual café on Zoom
- October 30 – Blooming Meadows
- October 30 – Valley View Playfields
- November 4 – Mall of America
- November 6 – Action for East African People/Action Care Clinic
- Online community input via Let’s Talk Bloomington and Polco
- December 2 - 4, 2021: Core Planning Team retreat
- January 7, 2022: Measurement Team meeting
- January 8, 2022: Action Team meeting
- January 28, 2022: Measurement Team meeting
- January 29, 2022: Action Team meeting
- February 19, 2022: Action Team meeting
- March 5, 2022: Core Planning Team review of Action Team’s work
- March - April 2022: City Council considers and adopts the City Manager’s recommendations regarding the strategic plan
Prepared by Transformations System, LLC
The City of Bloomington has embarked upon an initiative to build and share a clear vision of the future. As part of the
process, the city held six in-person and one virtual World Cafés in October and November 2021, with approximately 148
community members participating.
The purpose of each World Café was to engage all community stakeholders in conversations, providing them an opportunity
to share their thoughts on Bloomington’s present and future.
The participants of the World Cafés engaged in dialogue over four questions:
- As you think about Bloomington, what are your top priorities to help our community thrive as a satisfying place to live,
work and play (for example, community amenities, resources, what we should aspire to, etc.)? Be as specific as
- What are the most significant challenges you believe Bloomington will face in the next 3 to 5 years? What are the most
- What are the greatest untapped resources within our community that could contribute to our success? What are the
gaps in our community – in other words, what’s missing?
- What could be the role of your city government to help create the community we envision?
It is important to recognize that each person who participated in the world café had the opportunity to give multiple
responses to each question. Notes recorded on tabletop and chart paper were also included in the analysis of the responses.
In addition to the world cafés, community members were given an opportunity to provide feedback through an online survey
and idea boards. 104 community members participated in these digital engagement tools.
Main themes emerged in the responses and are reported in the summary of findings. Themes are presented in order of
magnitude. Rounding is used in the display of percentages, so totals may fall within +/- one (1) percent of 100.
As you think about Bloomington, what are your top priorities to help our community thrive as a satisfying place to live, work and play (for example, community amenities, resources, what we should aspire to, etc.)? Be as specific as possible.
Seven (7) main themes emerged from a total of 586 responses. One (1) percent of responses were not categorized in a theme.
✤verbatim example of response
Community recreation and amenities - outdoors and indoors (32%)
- ✤ Parks & nature, trails--continue prioritizing
- ✤ We need to take care of and utilize more of all the great outdoor space we have in Bloomington.
- ✤ Inclusive playgrounds
- ✤ Large community recreative space and opportunities--especially for winter months
- ✤ Year round space (community center)
- ✤ Opportunities for safe indoor and outdoor play for families: parks with clean restrooms (running water), shade and places to sit and snack. Opportunities to relax and unwind: nature centers that are indoors and interactive
- ✤ We need community neighborhood pockets as well as places to
bring the community together
- ✤ A new, modern, community center or, as an alternative, a rebuilt Creekside Community Center with improvements and added facilities but not the scale of a single grand community center, together with 4, more local “neighborhood”-style “community” centers, one in each quadrant of town
- ✤ Develop a "downtown"/central business area
Bloomington identity, belonging and sense of community (23%)
- ✤ City that is open and welcoming to everybody; all walks of life, all demographics; open to
- ✤ Bridge gap between east/west, disparities
- ✤ Thinking of Bloomington of one city - urban and suburban - small town - rural variation
- ✤ Emphasis on long-term planning - design community
- ✤ More opportunities for community and neighborhood interaction
- ✤ Community relationships
- ✤ Continue to optimize the city for quality of life, equity, and
sustainability while being cost-effective
- ✤ Bloomington as a destination
Public infrastructure and services (15%)
- ✤ Bike paths and dedicated on-road bike lanes
- ✤ Safe bike lanes, safe sidewalks, landscaping, less storage facilities, clean parks
- ✤ More walkability
- ✤ Metro/mass transit access to downtown for work, arts, etc.
- ✤ Upgrade bus shelters, accessibility
- ✤ Environmental sustainability to provide for the future, the health and welfare of the community. Charging stations for electric vehicles and organics recycling, for example.
- ✤ Affordable AND low income housing and that the community understands what that really is
- ✤ Enough affordable housing for different income ranges, especially low to middle income. Also Senior housing
- ✤ Continue to plan for more opportunities for affordable housing that is integrated within other housing
Support for local business (9%)
- ✤ More "local" options i.e. coffee shops, meeting spaces, "diversify" options
- ✤ Business - foster entrepreneurship, more local restaurants
- ✤ Support small businesses and incentivize them to open - we need the City to support businesses rather than putting in place anti-business policies
Public safety (7%)
- ✤ Safety for our residents and children. Police forces should be expanded and given community and government support.
- ✤ (Comfort) - Safety - adequate police presence - better police identity
- ✤ Strong public schools - city & school district have good partnership improve on school system
- ✤ Strong public schools - city & school district have good partnership, improve on school system
Miscellaneous Responses (1%)
2a. What are the most significant challenges you believe Bloomington will face in the next 3 to 5 years?
Six (6) main themes emerged from a total of 231 responses.
✤ verbatim example of response
- ✤ Affordable housing
- ✤ Housing - how is it distributed and determined
- ✤ Housing - access and equity; aging housing stock
- ✤ Challenges: housing - affordability (prices changing) - how do we make it easier for more people to own homes?, out of state investors buying at low prices houses and selling them at high price, renters - how do we support people who rent
- ✤ Build tiny houses
- ✤ Challenge - home improvement loans
- ✤ Challenge - Increasing property taxes
- ✤ Challenges:
- -housing density;
- -aging community how do we attract new families?;
- -embracing cultural/ethnicity (how to get folks to table to share their experience);
- -how to keep people moving on to next stage of living;
- -empty nesters
- -house for family;
- -senior housing;
- -affordable houses in Bloomington so you can live where heart is
Infrastructure and development (26%)
- ✤ Challenge - Lack of developable land
- ✤ Challenge - Expensive to develop something new
- ✤ Challenges - planning/zoning. Frustration over some things in certain locations.
- ✤ Challenge - Less and smaller sidewalks on east side; wider on west side
- ✤ Challenge - No walk/bike connection east/west
- ✤ Technological infrastructure - likely a challenge
- ✤ Challenge - access to internet
- ✤ Maintaining facilities
- ✤ Challenges: economic challenges due to inflation, growth of government etc.
- ✤ Challenge - Money to make capital improvements/changes
- ✤ The pandemic has destroyed businesses and put people out of work- we need to rebuild!
Safety, crime, police (15%)
- ✤ Challenge - Public Safety - a lot of theft, police engage in community, stop and take time with community, better serve community, police match demographic, language barriers, input from diverse communities
- ✤ Safety (ensuring that our police budget is justified in the public eye, keeping people safe in their place of business or home),
- ✤ Challenges: crime, mental illness/homelessness, drug addiction, Covid, future of business and retail, too much welfare, police staffing
Community divide (12%)
- ✤ Challenge - Integration of communities within the city
- ✤ Social hostility and tensions
- ✤ Lack of a sense of community among neighbors.
- ✤ Racial tensions
- ✤ Climate - COVID challenges - changes to how we interact and engage in community/community health
Climate change (8%)
- ✤ Challenge - climate changes
- ✤ The changing climate will impact everything
Aging population (7%)
- ✤ Aging population is achallenge, the resources, the people to support an aging population.
- ✤ An aging population without enough people to replenish business demands
2b. What are the most significant opportunities?
Six (6) main themes emerged from a total of 210 responses.
✤ verbatim example of response
Community engagement (37%)
- ✤ More bridging of communities. Create connections, authentic community connections
- ✤ How we welcome new residence prepare for change, having resources, inclusiveness
- ✤ Opportunity - Help families by engaging the community to assist people who can't do their own home maintenance (e.g., "Help a Neighbor")
- ✤ Opportunity - Centers of community
- ✤ The city could be proactive in encouraging neighborhoods.
- ✤ Encourage volunteerism within our community - see each other as people
- ✤ Opportunity - More intentional getting voices and opinions of community members (beyond white)
- ✤ Inclusion and sense of community
- ✤ Love the Farmers Market, Pride Festival, sense of community, we need more of that.
- ✤ Residents connected to a vision
Redevelopment and revitalization efforts (26%)
- ✤ Opportunities - establish downtown; aesthetics improvement; historical celebrations and downtown; Old Shakopee Road; Cultural celebrations; business development; indoor marketplace; implement diversity plans
- ✤ Opportunity - focus on small areas or parks, improve, maintain then expand
- ✤ Opportunity - Amenities: companies want employees to be attracted to these (gyms, places to eat, shops, car charging, etc.)
- ✤ Opportunity - green space. Use it to draw people
- ✤ Balance beauty/resources with commerce needs
New businesses (11%)
- ✤ Opportunity - Become more business-friendly, especially to small businesses
- ✤ Equitable opportunities for small businesses. How to help small landlords.
- ✤ Opportunity - businesses improve sustainability
- ✤ Opportunity to double down on education
- ✤ Opportunity - young people to learn the trades. Not everyone is up for 4 years. Lots of kids are good with their hands. Work with the school district.
- ✤ Work more closely with the schools (opportunity) expand on City/school district connection
Diversity in community (8%)
- ✤ Changing racial demographics: how to transition in the healthiest way
- ✤ Bloomington is becoming more diverse and the City to be more diverse in staff and languages, don't have kids translate for parents
- ✤ Opportunity - Diversity - our community will be a richer, diverse place.
Inter-generational connections (6%)
- ✤ Reach out to both young and old. We do have an aging population that will need support.
- ✤ Mentoring, cultural intergenerational exchanges
3a. What are the greatest untapped resources within our community that could contribute to our success?
Six (6) main themes emerged from a total of 251 responses.
✤ verbatim example of response
Community involvement (33%)
- ✤ Community groups (already formed youth groups/teams) – activities (clean up roads, parks, etc.) to get invested in the community
- ✤ Micro & macro community neighborhood events
- ✤ More all community events-such as "World Café"
- ✤ More programs to bring people together, ie, concerts, plays, park get togethers, etc.
- ✤ More volunteer opportunities for residents..especially working residents
- ✤ Golden rule - be inclusive of neighbors. Create opportunities to meet neighbors.
- ✤ Untapped resources: Churches, seniors/volunteer; high schools, art center & theatre & city hall; partner with business or other cities
- ✤ Wraparound community support
- ✤ Untapped resources - Appreciation of community and need to be together is important, how do we do that?
- ✤ Greatest untapped resources are the citizens
Community diversity (27%)
- ✤ Untapped Resources- The diversity is rich; Diversity in Religions; Rich history to celebrate; City Council could tap into youth population to celebrate
- ✤ Learn to better understand differences among residents
- ✤ Untapped Resources: Take Advantage of new voices in community; listen to citizens for creative ideas; diverse community to participate; community awareness of "Artistry"; senior residents
- ✤ Diversity on city council and all areas of city governance.
- ✤ City needs to take a bigger role to bring different cultures together
- ✤ Residential diversity - multi-purpose - live, work, play environment
Development programs (12%)
- ✤ Develop up and out - South Loop - a good example
- ✤ Greatest untapped resource: improperly used land and too much restriction on land use
- ✤ Resources: infrastructure; location (bring in jobs, bring in civic minded people); land-zoning (Richfield seems to be doing good things)
- ✤ We have existing, but tired, neighborhood commercial nodes that need revitalization. I know we’re already working on that but I still consider it a relatively untapped resource.
Youth engagement (12%)
- ✤ Having youth see and participate in activities in the City will have lasting impressions
- ✤ Engage with youth networks and utilize those networks
- ✤ Youth – engage youth to carry the Bloomington image; middle school students; programs
- ✤ Untapped resources: Our youth
Green space (11%)
- ✤ We have so much green space, parks, Normandale, Fish and Wild Life. Not everyone realizes what we have.
- ✤ The lakes and creek and river pathways are greatest assets if we could provide more continuous connections and inspire through beautiful landscaping within city - drive through Richfield to see how safety and beauty coexist with landscape medians and roundabouts and wide paved bike paths and sidewalks. Beauty inspires citizens to engage and take care of their community.
Senior community (5%)
- ✤ Utilizing older people's knowledge
- ✤ We have a thriving senior community. Full of volunteers for your projects! Lots of expertise!
3b. What are the gaps in our community – in other words, what’s missing?
Seven (7) main themes emerged from a total of 133 responses.
✤ verbatim example of response
Community facilities and amenities (35%)
- ✤ A community gathering place! More restaurants in the South Central and West side of Town.
- ✤ COMMUNITY CENTER! Or at the very least that land that could host a better community center. The aquatic center and indoor pools (better hours and facilities - think Foss Swim Center). Empty industrial buildings (breweries, coffee shops, indoor play).
- ✤ Gaps: no "main street" area for connection (e.g. inclusive watering hole, possible multiple "main streets"; t-cross at Lyndale and France); - neighborhood destinations
- ✤ More things/places that are walkable.
- ✤ If you want to attract residents from the city willing to pay for more space we need: Sidewalks, more parks/destinations people can walk around and off leash dogs parks.
- ✤ Better east to west destinations, neighborhood shops
- ✤ Better facilities to help attract more families and young people
- ✤ Affordable housing - HUGE gap
- ✤ Housing affordable and available and appealing to families with kids
- ✤ How do we deal with homelessness?
- ✤ Community loan programs to help people buy houses
Local business support (16%)
- ✤ Need more cultural businesses/more support for small businesses
- ✤ I think Bloomington needs more independent businesses and restaurants.
- ✤ Incentives for businesses to come in.
- ✤ Business community celebration/support
A Bloomington identity (13%)
- ✤ A sense of unity. Still east vs west
- ✤ We don’t have an identity. Challenges when we try to market ourselves.
- ✤ Come together as one. Help foster community and safety.
- ✤ Welcome packets: New residents aren't aware of the community's programs and services
- ✤ How to discern info about what is happening in our city Community policing (7%)
- ✤ Gap in community policing
- ✤ Support with neighbors. And more involvement with police.
Transportation and roads (6%)
- ✤ Public transit expansion/bikeable
- ✤ Gaps: East to West transit
4. What could be the role of your city government to help create the community we envision?
Six (6) main themes emerged from a total of 425 responses. One (1) percent of responses were not categorized in a theme.
✤ verbatim example of response
Engage community (26%)
- ✤ Think about how to get all races and ages involved
- ✤ Opportunities for people to bring issues or ideas forward that impact them
- ✤ Reaching out to young residents and meeting them where they are comfortable so we can make decisions with them rather than for them without their input.
- ✤ Try to reach residents who would not typically go to a council meeting
- ✤ Continue to develop community engagement "cafes"
- ✤ Engage longtime residents and newcomers
- ✤ Integrate: age diversity - young, seniors, and families. Bring all together
- ✤ Listen to community members, get feedback
- ✤ Seek out all points of view before decisions are made.
- ✤ More youth on boards and commissions
- ✤ Encourage young people to come out and participate
- ✤ Proactively reach out to be with people these café’s are a great start.
Plan and implement strategically (18%)
- ✤ What is our mission and vision? What is our specific credo, not just development for sake of development
- ✤ Sift through conversation - needs vs wants
- ✤ Leverage forward thinking ideas to keep looking into the future development
- ✤ We heard, we listened, and these are the ideas discussed; these are some of the things we can implement – what we can and cannot do right now
- ✤ These meetings and strategic planning involving community are things they can and have done, encourage community to get involved
- ✤ Take a stand and be committed to making change.
- ✤ Provide the time for these things to happen – 3-5 years; it’s going to take time
Strengthen sense of community (17%)
- ✤ Create a Bloomington identity
- ✤ Celebrate and educate people on the history and heritage of Bloomington and its residents
- ✤ Recognize diversity of cultures
- ✤ City can define, encourage neighborhood identities = build community
- ✤ Promote and encourage community activities through City Briefing (opportunities to provide resources for community activities; funding for outreach, block parties)
- ✤ Involve church groups
- ✤ Reach out to local organizations to assist with needs in the community; coordinate and then get out of the way - the City can't solve everything
- ✤ Micro-community associations; define these neighborhoods and encourage "neighborhood night outs”
Revitalize and develop (16%)
- ✤ Help keep small businesses in Bloomington
- ✤ Zoning and city planning to help create more opportunities for local small businesses/restaurants/etc. and improve neighborhood identity while maintaining residential benefits.
- ✤ Help our community buildings be healthy and offer a variety of opportunities to all ages.
- ✤ Make sure housing and zoning should support what the community wants and to bring in new residents
- ✤ Proactively encourage redevelopment of commercial & residential properties
- ✤ Internet is infrastructure – city is missing out on that
- ✤ Create walkable areas to create a small town feel
- ✤ More financial opportunities for housing
Communicate effectively (12%)
- ✤ Help make sure community is aware of what is happening
- ✤ Address language barriers
- ✤ Feedback loops: transparent conversations; -open community conversations; -visionary-leadership roles-educators
- ✤ Need to blast out our successes - like awards - get it out there more
- ✤ Be transparent. Explain the processes and the rationale behind the decisions made that affect the community.
- ✤ Feedback loops: transparent conversations; -open community conversations; -visionary-leadership roles-educators
Maintain public services (10%)
- ✤ Continue to maintain roads
- ✤ City Gov’t should work to ensure that the quality of education is world class and when that is achieved that it is well marketed.
- ✤ Be responsive to crime
- ✤ Do what you can to combat climate change
- ✤ Provide public safety
Miscellaneous Responses (1%)
Native Americans traveled, settled and traded along the Minnesota River in Bloomington for centuries. The river also brought occasional European explorers and traders. In the 1820s, Fort Snelling became the first European settlement at the nearby confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. With the fort nearby, some of the earliest settlers in Bloomington were missionaries who came to convert the resident Native Americans.
In the 1850s, Bloomington began to be settled by Europeans and converted to agricultural uses. On May 11, 1858, on the same day Minnesota became a state, the town of Bloomington was established. Bloomington remained primarily agricultural for a century, raising produce for the growing nearby cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
In the 1950s, Bloomington became the classic American “boom town” and its population soared from 9,900 in 1950 to 50,500 in 1960, the same year voters approved the village of Bloomington’s transformation to a city. Bloomington added amenities, businesses, infrastructure and schools to keep up with the growing demand.
School enrollment in Bloomington was 700 in 1945 and peaked at 26,000 in 1971. Today public school enrollment is more than 9,700 and the city is home to three colleges/universities, two early childhood education centers, ten elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, four private schools and three charter schools.
The Bloomington volunteer fire department, established in 1947 with 25 members at a cost of $24,000, will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022. Today there are six fire stations and 109 paid-on-call firefighters, many who are second and third generation volunteers.
The Bloomington Police Department was formed with three officers in 1953 at a cost of $2 per taxpayer. That same year, the first traffic signal was installed at the intersection of 98th Street and Lyndale Avenue. Today the police department has 114 sworn officers.
Located along the Minnesota River, almost a third of the City has been preserved for conservation, public and recreation uses. The first City parks, Bush Lake Beach and Moir Park were created in 1954. Today the City of Bloomington parks and recreation system is extensive with 97 parks, natural areas, 45 playgrounds, 2 golf courses, regional parks, cultural resources, and special use facilities including the Bloomington Ice Garden, Center for the Arts and the Family Aquatic Center.
In 1956, the $8.5 million Metropolitan Stadium opened and became best known as the home of the Twins and Vikings. Many games later in 1982, when Minnesota's pro baseball and football teams moved out of Bloomington, redevelopment resulted in Mall of America, one of the most visited destinations in the United States. Hospitality is now Bloomington’s number one industry with more than 9,700 hotel rooms in the city.
Today, Bloomington is a dynamic urban center with nearly 90,000 residents and a workforce of 84,000 employees. The city’s central location in the metropolitan area, proximity to freeways and to a major international hub airport resulted in a strong and diverse economy with a mix of commerce and industry. Bloomington is an important economic engine for Minnesota and a major tourist destination for the Upper Midwest.
With an excellent location and well trained workforce, many great companies have grown and prospered in Bloomington. Today, Bloomington serves as headquarters for businesses both large and small including Toro, Donaldson, Health Partners and many others.
Bloomington is one of only 40 cities out of more than 19,000 municipal governments in the U.S. that have achieved three triple-A ratings—the highest ratings from three bond ratings agencies for fiscal management. Bloomington is currently the only Minnesota city to hold all three highest ratings. Excellent bond ratings signal to current and potential investors that the City’s financial future is strong and ensure that interest costs remain low. They also signal to businesses and individuals that Bloomington is a financially healthy community.
Bloomington provides excellent transit connections. The city hosts the busiest transit station in Minnesota, in addition to Blue Line light rail transit trains, and Red Line, Orange Line and D-Line bus rapid transit stations.
Now Minnesota’s fourth largest city, Bloomington is growing rapidly. Desirable new housing options are popping up throughout the city to support Bloomington’s growing work force. As Bloomington grows, the City is focused on using creative placemaking to foster vibrant neighborhoods that are interwoven with public art, parks, trails, restaurants, taprooms and opportunities to enjoy the company of others. The focus will be to continue making improvements that will renew and shape the community to ensure that Bloomington remains a high quality place to live, work, do business and visit for years to come.
Bloomington’s evolution over 50 years
While the overall size of Bloomington’s population has remained stable since 1970, there have been notable shifts in the demographics of its residents.
Bloomington’s total population in 2020 was relatively similar to its population 50 years ago:
- 1970 population: 81,971
- 2020 population: 89,987
Two major demographic shifts have shaped Bloomington over the past fifty years – the aging and diversification of the city’s population.
The percentage of Bloomington’s non-white population is 32 times what it was in 1970.
- 1970 population: 1% non-white, 99% white
- 2020 population: 32% non-white, 68% white
Change in Black Indigenous People of Color Population 2010 to 2020 Total and Percentage
Household Speaks Language Other than English at Home
Limited English Proficiency
Bloomington is on average much older than it was in 1970. There are fewer children and a larger population of older adults.
|Median age||% Under 18||% Over 65|
Change in Median Age 2010 to 2019
Bloomington’s population has increased most significantly since 2000 in its development districts (e.g., Normandale Lake, Penn/American and South Loop), driven by new development and young families buying properties in these areas. The population has decreased in only one census tract as a result of a slight loss in housing units and an increase in vacancy rates.
Change in Population 2010 to 2020
While the overall size of Bloomington’s population has remained steady since 1970, the number of housing units increased by 78% between 1970 and 2020.
- 1970 housing units: 22,254
- 2020 housing units: 39,600
The City’s average household size has dropped by 1.4 people since 1970.
- 1970 household size: 3.7 people
- 2020 household size: 2.31 people
Change in Average Household Size 2010 to 2020
A majority of Bloomington residents own their own homes, but the percentage of renters has increased.
While single-family units still dominate Bloomington’s landscape, the share of multi-family units has increased.
|Single-family homes||Multi-family homes|
The proportion of the Bloomington population within 185% of the federal poverty definition has ebbed and flowed. In 2009 it was 16.7%. In 2014, it had grown to 20.5%. As of 2020, the portion was 16.2%.
The share of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch has steadily increased from 29% in 2006-07 school year, to 40% in the 2015-16 school year, and 40% in the 2020-2021 school year.
The City’s largest employment sectors are professional and business services, and retail trade, transportation and utilities. The number of jobs in Bloomington has increased significantly since 1970.
- 1970 employment: 40,030
- 2020 employment: 81,679
|Bloomington employment sector (2020)|
|Professional and Business Services||24,883|
|Trade, Transportation and Utilities||16,821|
|Education and Health Services||11,454|
|Leisure and Hospitality||6,573|
Employment in Bloomington is concentrated along the I-494 corridor, in the South Loop District, and at the intersection of I-35W and 94th Street. These concentrations are among the densest in the region, with many locations having 10 to 40 jobs per acre.
The median sale price of a Bloomington home is $299,700 in 2021.
Single Family Residential
|Assessment Year||Average value||% change||Median Value||% Change|
|2007 (Previous peak)||280,700||0.9||247,900||1.3|
The Average and Median Value homes are 18.8% and 23.9% higher than the previous peak of 2007.
Single-family housing stock breakdown
This chart shows that 74% of the City’s
housing stock was built prior to 1970 and 89%
prior to 1990.
13 Year Average and Median Value History
13 Year Single Family Residential Market Value History
In the 2021-2022 school year, Bloomington Public Schools had an enrollment of 10,668 students from pre-K through grade 12.
Fifty-one percent of students were members of Black, Indigenous or People of Color communities.
|2021 Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity|
|Hispanic or Latino||20.4%|
|Black or African American||18.1%|
|Two or more races||8.1%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||0.5%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||0.1%|
Source: Minnesota Report Card
- Students on free or reduced price lunch: 28.0%
- Students learning English (average): 15.1%
More enrollment information is available in the Bloomington Public Schools enrollment report at the end of this section.
*Due to COVID-19, no summarized assessment data is available for 2020.
Source: Minnesota Report Card
The statewide goal for Minnesota schools is that at least 90% of students graduate within four years. The Bloomington Public School District’s graduation rate was 79% in 2020.
Recent headlines describe an upswing in violent crime, both at the local and national levels. Bloomington experienced a jump in violent crime in the summer of 2020 which coincided with the onset of the pandemic. The following four criminal offenses make up the violent crime index that is tracked locally and nationally: 1) homicide, 2) rape, 3) robbery, and 4) aggravated assault.
Prior to September 1, 2020, the Bloomington Police Department utilized the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting database to report crime statistics. As of September 2020, the FBI required law enforcement agencies throughout the United States to transition to the National Incident-Based Reporting System. That conversion makes it difficult to compare numbers from past years since the reporting requirements are so different.
Aggravated assault tends to be the most common offense committed in Bloomington each month. Aggravated assault carries the intent to cause bodily harm with the use of a deadly weapon that could include a gun, a motorized vehicle or another object like a bat. As a result, the person must have caused temporary or permanent injury.
In the 133 cases of aggravated assault reported above, the top three types were:
- Domestic related: 37%
- Suspect/victim (no relationship and are unknown to each other): 30%
- Suspect/victim (relationship or are known to each other): 25%
The statistics from 2016 to 2019 are when the Police Department used the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting database to report crime statistics. The data for 2020 is from the transition to the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System.
The Administration Department includes the City Manager’s Office, Human Resources Division and the City Clerk’s Office. Each division within the department serves both internal and external customers. Nineteen full-time staff work in this department.
City Manager’s Office
The City Manager leads and manages the daily operations of the City and its various departments in accordance with the policy directives, strategic priorities and resource allocations of the City Council. This includes community outreach, financial management, and personnel administration, as well as short- and long-range planning for City operations, facilities and amenities.
The Human Resources Division coordinates staff recruitment and hiring, designs and services employee benefit programs and conducts employee relations activities for all City employees. Human Resources also develops and implements classification and compensation systems, as well as employment rules and policies that are consistent with the City’s mission, vision and values.
City Clerk’s Office
Activities of the City Clerk’s Office include elections, business licensing, passports, data governance for all City records and general data requests. Federal, state, and county elections are held in even-numbered years and City and School District elections are held in odd-numbered years.
The City Clerk’s Office also maintains records and assists families with purchases for the Bloomington City Cemetery. First established in 1858, the Bloomington Cemetery consists of approximately 10 acres just west of the intersection of Lyndale Ave and 104th Street. The oldest portion of the cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Both in-ground burial lots and columbarium niches are available, with preferred pricing for Bloomington residents. Staff from the Parks Maintenance section of the Public Works Department maintain the cemetery grounds.
City Attorney’s Office
The City Attorney’s Office works to enhance public safety and quality of life for Bloomington residents through fair and effective prosecution of crimes and civil administrative offenses. The City Attorney Office staff protect the City’s assets by providing timely and effective legal counsel to the City, its elected officials, staff, and boards and commissions. Staff also defend against claims brought or threatened against the City, all in a highly cost-effective, collaborative and focused manner. There are 13 full-time staff in the City Attorney’s Office.
Community Development Department
The Community Development Department supports the long-term vitality of the community through planning, creative placemaking, upholding City codes and more. The department has an authorized staff of 78 full-time employees working in the following seven divisions:
The City Assessor’s Office determines the annual valuation and classification for properties located within Bloomington’s geographic boundaries for the purposes of property taxation. All properties must be valued annually and reviewed once every five years. A Board of Review made up of independent real estate experts holds an annual hearing to rule on valuation disputes brought by owners. Assessing staff also manages appeals on commercial/industrial and apartment properties in Minnesota Tax Court. The Assessor’s Office advises the Bloomington Port Authority and Bloomington Housing Redevelopment Authority on all development projects requesting Tax Increment Financing. Assessing staff also participate in administering special assessments and park dedication calculations.
Building and Inspections
The Building and Inspection Division reviews construction plans for consistency with all state codes and provides guidance to homeowners during the permitting and inspection process. Building and Inspections staff also administer the time-of-sale inspection program for owner-occupied housing to ensure housing stock within the city continues to be upheld to the programs safety standards.
Creative Placemaking is an evolving process that builds vibrant, distinctive and sustainable communities through public art. It engages artists and stakeholders in building social fabric and local economies while making physical, place-based improvements, such as murals, sculptures, performances and other functional art installations.
Environmental Health handles inspection and enforcement activities in three program areas. One is the licensing and inspection of food and lodging establishments, public pools, manufactured home parks and wells in Bloomington as well as contracted inspections in Richfield. Staff also protect the community through education, outreach, complaint investigation and enforcement related to public health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental Health is also responsible for residential and commercial property complaint and systematic inspections to maintain properties’ appearance and value for those living and working in Bloomington and rental property inspection and enforcement to provide safe and well-maintained rental housing.
Housing and Redevelopment Authority
The Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s purpose is to build and renew the community by providing housing services, promoting renewal and guiding growth. The focus of the HRA is housing creation and preservation, neighborhood revitalization and homeownership. The HRA achieves its goals through Federal, State and local support. Read about HRA’s efforts to create and preserve affordable housing in Bloomington in the Opportunity Housing Ordinance section of the Data Book.
The Planning Division defines and implements future directions for the City through plan preparation and zoning controls. This division also reviews and prepares recommendations on applications for development, rezoning, use permits and variances, and conducts special studies for the City.
The Port Authority is a component unit of the City. It was created to provide a coordinated, cost-effective approach for redevelopment within defined development districts that may be established throughout the City. This goal is accomplished in many cases through the use of tax increment and/or revenue bonds, issued as needed for redevelopment.
Community Services Department
The Community Services Department provides programs and services that enhance the lives of all who live and work in Bloomington. The department is made up of the Public Health, Community Outreach and Engagement and Communications divisions. In 2020, the Community Services Department led the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including public health services, messaging and outreach to the community. This department has 39 full-time staff.
This Division of Community Services is a full-service communications shop that uses multiple communications vehicles devoted to educating and informing the community. The division cablecasts and webcasts City Council and other meetings, produces news magazine shows and videos, maintains the City’s websites, social media, operates public access television and generates the monthly Briefing. The Communications Division also oversees the City’s cable television franchises. The Communications Division fund is supported by cable franchise fees.
The award-winning Bloomington Briefing and Insider newsletters, government and public access cable television facilities, City web sites, social media and other activities of the Communications Division are supported through a Special Revenue fund.
The Communications Division also supervises Support Services, which includes the Information Desk, Print Shop and Mailroom.
Community Outreach and Engagement
The Community Outreach and Engagement Division uses innovative and authentic approaches to facilitate, engage and connect internal and external stakeholders. COED staff serve as advocates and change agents to ensure the community is considered, accounted for and heard in the development and delivery of programs and services. The mission of the division is involving community, influencing greatness.
Public Health’s mission is to engage the community in promoting, protecting and improving the health of all. The Public Health Division is responsible for the administration and implementation of programs and services to address the areas of public health responsibility as defined in the Local Public Health Act (Chapter 145A of Minnesota Statutes). As a national accredited health department, Public Health fulfills its statutory requirements through four program areas:
- Clinic Services: Women, Infants and Children Clinic (WIC), immunizations and follow-up investigations on infectious disease cases.
- Family Health: Home visits and intensive home visits for eligible families, population-based support for older adults and follow-up on vulnerable adult referrals.
- Population Health and Planning: Health in all policies, emergency preparedness, planning, community health assessments, community health improvement plans and accreditation.
- Administration Services: Accounting, contract administration, data support and office administration.
The Finance Department provides financial services for the City as well as the City’s two component units- the Port Authority and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Financial services include accounting, audit, budget, cash management, investing, general billing, utility billing, accounts payable, purchasing, payroll and risk management.
Budget and Administration
Finance provides monthly financial reports to the City Council and Executive Leadership Team and is responsible for submitting required reports to the Office of the State Auditor and Hennepin County throughout the year. Through conservative financial management and long-term planning, the City of Bloomington maintains the highest possible bond ratings possible “Triple AAA” bond ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and the Fitch Rating Agency.
The Accounting Division manages and records the day-to-day accounting of the City’s transactions, including audit, payroll, accounts receivable, centralized purchasing, investments, accounts payable, utility billing, cash receipts and general accounting. The division prepares an analysis of the monthly financial statements for executive leadership and City Council. They prepare the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report which has received the annual Government Finance Officers Association award since 1970. The Audit function monitors the City tax on lodging, admissions and liquor sales
Risk and Litigation Management
Risk Management provides risk management support to all operating divisions of the City.
The Bloomington Fire Department operates out of six fire stations and uses the latest in firefighting equipment, including engines, ladders and other specialty units. The Fire Department responded to 3,195 calls for service in 2021. These ranged from water rescues and vehicle extrications to structural fires, medical emergencies and hazardous materials emergencies. The BFD aims to respond to 90% of any incidents within 7 minutes, 30 seconds with at least three firefighters. The BFD achieved this goal for 62% of incidents. To accomplish this, paid-on-call firefighters located within approximately 4 minutes or less responding time of the City’s fire stations are actively recruited. All firefighters are required to meet training standards annually. The Fire Department has 11 full-time authorized positions and 112 paid on-call firefighters.
Fire Prevention staff inspects all new construction and renovation of commercial, industrial and multi-family residential structures to ensure fire code compliance. Fire inspectors inspect all properties, except single-family dwellings, to verify continued compliance with the fire code. Fire Prevention collects annual data on storage and use of hazardous material within the city and verifies annual maintenance of all fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems. Fire Inspectors investigate all fires in Bloomington to determine cause and origin and work with the Police Department to investigate arson cases. The division promotes fire prevention education and training and oversees the school fire education programs and Fire Department open house. The Fire Marshal participates in the City’s multi-department Development Review Committee.
Fire, Police and Public Health staff work together to provide a multi-layered emergency management capability for the City. Fire, Police, and Public Health Command Staff have emergency management and incident management training.
The Emergency Operations Plan and Continuity of Operations Plan are both plans that have had extensive review by all City Departments and are updated and revised annually. The City’s emergency early warning capability is also a multi-department effort with Fire, Police, Public Works and Information Systems all working to implement the Everbridge notification system to alert residents and visitors to hazard information.
Information Technology Department
The Information Technology Department provides computer hardware and software, and coordinates the networking and communications of systems in accordance with the City’s Information Technology strategic plan for the City. There are 15 full-time employees in IT.
A cross-functional Information Technology Steering Committee was created in 2017 to ensure that technology governance is coordinated and efficient, leading to decreased costs and advancement of the City’s business goals.
The Bloomington Police Department provides excellence in policing by protecting, serving and partnering with the community to improve quality of life. BPD employs 161 people, 123 of which are sworn police officers.
Police Administration provides overall administrative support to the Police Department and comprehensive emergency management support for the City. Resource allocations and decisions within the Police Department are largely guided by its strategic plan focus areas: youth, community outreach and engagement, training, and technology.
Police Operations provides twenty-four hour, seven-day a week response to requests for officer assistance, including crimes, traffic accidents, medical emergencies and neighborhood problems. Investigative staff and officers provide follow-up investigation to all reported crimes and proactively investigates narcotics, vice, liquor and tobacco violations. Special Operations staff and officers provide support for high-risk operations with highly trained and specially equipped tactical, hostage negotiation and bomb squad units. Five K-9 teams and crime scene technicians are also part of the division.
Patrol provides round-the-clock service to the community by responding to crimes, traffic accidents, medical emergencies, fires, public safety hazards, domestic disputes and other community needs. More than 167,200 emergency and nonemergency phone calls are logged into the dispatch center annually. Of these, approximately 51,000 are emergency (911) calls coming into the dispatch center, but not all of these calls result in a request for police services.
Police Support consists of the professional standards unit, the police records unit, dispatch operations, property and evidence control, crime prevention, and animal control functions. These activities support the operational units of the Police Department.
Parks and Recreation Department
The Parks and Recreation Department oversees 97 parks and five recreational facilities for users to enjoy. The department provides recreational opportunities through programs and facilities offering a wide variety of opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Parks and Recreation focuses on preserving, managing and programming the City’s vast parks system of 3,700 acres. This department has 24 full-time staff.
The Recreation Division provides a wide-range of activities for all ages, from highly competitive individual and team sports to youth summer programming to community-wide special events to self-directed leisure activities.
Creekside Community Center
Creekside Community Center is home to active adult programming, community programs, and meal programs. Creekside provides a space for the community to gather to connect with their friends and neighbors while participating in a variety of programs.
Dwan Golf Course
Dwan Golf Course is an award-winning 18-hole, regulation-length golf course that is home to a wide variety of weekly leagues and groups. In 2020, Dwan reimagined the tee options to align with the new USGA world handicap system. Dwan offers three tee options for men playing to a par of 68 and two tee options for women playing to a par of 70.
Hyland Greens Golf Course
Many different leagues play regularly at Hyland Greens. The City of Bloomington established a partnership with the Three Rivers Park District for an operating agreement for Hyland Greens in 2021. The Three Rivers Park District brings a wealth of experience in operating golf facilities and offering instructional programs for all skill level of players from beginners to serious golf enthusiasts.
Bloomington Ice Garden
Bloomington Ice Garden has three rinks (one Olympic-sized) with a total seating capacity of 2,500 as well as dry land training facilities. The rinks are used primarily for youth and high school hockey and figure skating. The rinks also offer public skating as well as open hockey. Skating lessons are offered for both youth and adults by professionally trained instructors.
Center for the Arts
The Bloomington Center for the Arts provides high-quality arts and cultural experiences for residents, patrons and participants. With venues such as the Schneider and Black Box Theaters, and painting and clay classrooms, the Center for the Arts is a magnet for people looking for enriching experiences in the arts.
Bloomington Family Aquatic Center
The Bloomington Family Aquatic Center is an eight-lane, fifty-meter lap pool with a zero-depth entry. The zero-depth entry includes three tot slides and water play features. The diving well has a one-meter diving board, a climbing wall and a drop slide. The facility also has two looping water slides and a concessions operation.
Bush Lake Beach
Bush Lake Beach is a key component of the Hyland-Bush-Anderson Lakes Regional Park Reserve that provides exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities. The paid parking lot off of East Bush Lake Road provides access to a designated swimming area, indoor restrooms, fishing docks, a playground, volleyball court, picnic shelter, and access to several walking and hiking trails.
Public Works Department
The Public Works Department is responsible for well-maintained streets and infrastructure in Bloomington as well as maintaining parks and buildings, and providing utility services to residents and businesses. Public Works has 178 full-time employees.
The Engineering Division provides design and construction inspection for the City’s streets, bridges, water supply, sanitary and storm sewer drainage systems, sidewalks, bikeways, trails, water resource projects and traffic signal systems. It manages more than 15,000 signs, 144 traffic signal systems (including those of the county and others not City owned), the construction of approximately 12-13 miles of reconstructed or overlaid streets per year and other local and regional projects.
Maintenance administration plans, schedules, and coordinates maintenance programs and activities with other City departments and manages 4,400 street lights (1,175 City owned).
Street Maintenance staff provide street sweeping, snow plowing and street repair services. This includes the Pavement Management Program, with a goal to maximize the life of streets by replacing and repairing pavement at the most beneficial time.
Facilities and Park Maintenance staff repair and maintain City buildings, park structures, fire stations and cemetery property. Park Maintenance staff is also responsible for forestry and removal of diseased trees (such as Emerald Ash Borer infested trees), and clean-ups after major storm events. Fleet Maintenance staff maintain, repair and replace City vehicles and equipment.
The City strives to provide an uninterrupted supply of water, which meets or exceeds all federal and state quality standards, at a rate that ensures long-term sustainability of the water system.
Wastewater Utility staff provide sanitary service capacity and sufficient maintenance to minimize blockages and inflow. The City’s sanitary sewer infrastructure serves more than 25,000 customers, spans 359 miles of pipes, with 28 lift stations and thousands of maintenance holes. Bloomington’s storm sewer infrastructure spans nearly 300 miles of mainline pipes and catch basin leads, with 6 lift stations, 300 ponds, 4,977 maintenance holes and 9,607 catch basins.
Solid Waste Utility staff coordinate citywide garbage, recycling and yard waste programs; the spring Curbside Cleanup.
The City’s 2022 budget
In September, the City Council approved a preliminary 2022 property tax levy increase of 2.75%. The preliminary tax levy can be reduced, but not increased, before final adoption in December. This levy funds 68.8% of the City’s 2022 General Fund budget. The remainder of the 2022 General Fund budget is supported by lodging and admission taxes, license and permit fees, grants and program revenues. The average 2022 preliminary tax levy increase for 15 similar metro area cities is around 5%.
At 2.75%, Bloomington’s preliminary levy increase is the lowest among those 15 cities. The City Council will hold a truth in taxation public budget hearing on December 6.
Engaging the community
There have been many opportunities for the public to participate in 2022 budget discussions this year. There were virtual and in-person information sessions in August, as well as a virtual event on Zoom and an in-person event at Civic Plaza in October.
There has also been ongoing opportunities for engagement and feedback on the 2022 budget online at blm.mn/letstalk.
Your City property tax dollar
Most property taxes support core services, including police, fire, public works, and parks and recreation, see graph. For every dollar of City taxes paid, 49 cents goes toward police and fire, 19 cents goes toward public works and 14 cents goes toward parks and recreation while 8 cents of each City property tax dollar pays outstanding debt service. Debt is issued to fund street and infrastructure work and construction projects.
What the owner of a median-valued home paid in 2021
|Parks and Recreation||$12.97|
Residents receive a variety of City services at an affordable price. The cost of City services in 2021 for the owner of a median-valued, single-family home in Bloomington with an assessor’s market value of $307,200 was $91.06 per month. Public safety services such as police and fire account for $44.27 of the $91.06 per month cost. Property taxes also fund services such as environmental health, engineering, park maintenance, public health, arts, and cultural events. The tax cost per month of $91.06 was the amount required for tax support after allocating grants, program fees, lodging and admission taxes and other non-property tax revenue to the appropriate services.
Impact of COVID-19 on the City’s budget
The pandemic created a larger economic downturn for the City in 2020 than 2008’s Great Recession. Many industries came to a halt, including the hospitality and entertainment industries. For the City, that meant millions of dollars lost in lodging and admissions taxes, mostly paid by visitors, not residents. Lodging and admission tax revenues usually generate about 13% of the City’s general fund revenues. Due to the pandemic, these revenues declined by more than $6 million in 2020, less than half what was collected before COVID-19. The City is still projecting a 2022 budget with revenues quite a bit below where they were in 2019—pre-pandemic—especially for revenues from lodging and admissions taxes. Those two revenues will likely be about $3 million less than what the City collected in 2019.
For detailed information, including presentation slides from information sessions and recaps of City Council budget discussions, visit blm.mn/budget.
The City of Bloomington’s primary customers are the residents of Bloomington since they receive a majority of services that the City delivers. Secondary customers are Bloomington businesses and visitors.
Key stakeholders include residents, employees, businesses and property owners in Bloomington.
The City partners with many organizations across the community and region, working together to make Bloomington a better place to work, live and play.
The City’s key organizational partners include:
- Bloomington Public Schools
- Greater Minneapolis
- Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
- Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Hennepin County
- Greater MSP
- Metropolitan Council and Metro Transit
- Metropolitan Airports Commission
- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Minnesota Department of Transportation
- Minnesota Department of Health
In addition, the City is a member of groups such as the I-494 Corridor Commission, Highway 169 Corridor Coalition and the Municipal Legislative Commission that work to advance Bloomington’s interests.
Parks and recreation partners
- Bloomington Athletic Association (BAA)
- Bloomington Amateur Hockey Association
- Figure Skating Club of Bloomington
- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
- Three Rivers Park District
- Izaak Walton League (Bush Lake and Minnesota Valley chapters)
- Bloomington Historical Society
Public safety partners
- Bloomington Crime Prevention Association
- Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- South Metro Public Safety Training Facility
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Social service partners
- Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP)
- Oasis for Youth
- Cornerstone Advocacy Services
- Senior Community Services
- Loaves and Fishes
- Good in the ‘Hood
Cultural arts partners
The Bloomington Center for the Arts occupies the north end of Bloomington Civic Plaza. The facility houses eight resident art organizations:
- Angelica Cantanti
- Bloomington Chorale
- Bloomington Symphony Orchestra
- Continental Ballet Company
- Medalist Concert Band
- NOTE-able Singers
Bloomington Public Schools partnership
A key education partner is Bloomington Public Schools. The district’s mission statement is: “The Bloomington Public School District is an educational leader developing in all our learners the ability to thrive in a rapidly changing world.”
The district focuses on developing learning opportunities for children from birth to graduation in a comprehensive framework known as Pathways to Career and College. Bloomington Public Schools’ strategic plan focuses on how the district can help students to be career and college ready. Each learner has a personal growth plan to meet Pathway milestones such as preschool readiness.
Nine of the district’s schools are Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence and another six have received Minnesota School of Excellence designations. A computer science immersion program is offered at Indian Mounds and Poplar Bridge elementary schools and Olson Middle School in partnership with the University of Minnesota. In addition, New Code Academy is a fully online enrollment option for students in grades K-12 available to any Minnesota family. Courses are standards-aligned and hold students to the same level of rigor and assessment as equivalent face-to-face classes.
Information on school district enrollment and other data is located in the Bloomington by the Numbers section.
The City’s other key educational partners include:
- Normandale Community College
- Northwestern Health Sciences University
- Penn Lake and Oxboro Libraries
Service clubs and other community partners
- Bloomington Optimists Club
- Bloomington Rotary Club
- Bloomington Lions Club
- Education Foundation of Bloomington
- Bloomington Community Foundation
- Bloomington League of Women Voters
- Earl C. Hill American Legion Post 550
- Everett McClay VFW Post 1296
Bloomington competes nationally for business creation, relocation and retention—specifically with the Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle metropolitan areas. Bloomington is an investor in Greater MSP and partners with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to recruit, retain and develop businesses and entrepreneurs. Greater MSP targets companies in the headquarters and business services, health and life sciences, food and water solutions, advanced manufacturing and technology, and financial services industries.
A key draw to Bloomington, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, is that it possesses one of the nation’s most steady and diversified economies. The region has strengths in several key sectors such as health care, manufacturing, agricultural and food products, biomedical and finance, professional and business services, education, health services, and leisure and hospitality.
Bloomington’s broad economic base includes a diverse mix of industries including technology, health care, retail and manufacturing. Mall of America is the city's largest employer, with approximately 13,000 jobs. In addition to the Mall of America, Bloomington is home to several large corporations including The Toro Company, Donaldson Company, HealthPartners, and Seagate Technology. Prior to the pandemic, the economy was expanding quickly, propelled by commercial development.
Bloomington also competes in the leisure and business travel market. Voted the Best Value City in the U.S. by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Bloomington is a desirable travel location due to its convenience to downtown Minneapolis, Saint Paul and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. With more than 47 hotels and more than 9,700 rooms, Bloomington has the largest concentration of hotel rooms in Minnesota. The City of Bloomington contracts with the Bloomington Convention & Visitor’s Bureau to market to leisure and business travel customers.
When it comes to attracting new residents, Bloomington’s competition comes from Minneapolis, Saint Paul and surrounding suburbs. Bloomington offers prospective residents the value proposition of good transportation access, competitive housing prices, excellent schools, a full range of municipal services, an expansive park and open space system, quality arts and cultural programs, low property taxes and a safe and stable community. Research indicates that potential buyers and Realtors underestimate the strength of these community assets, so creating a more realistic understanding of Bloomington’s advantages is a marketing opportunity.
How Bloomington ranks in comparison to other communities
What makes a community livable? Safe and healthy neighborhoods, plenty of parks and open spaces, quality transportation systems, clean and safe drinking water, diverse and affordable housing options, and good value for property taxes paid are just a few of the items on residents’ checklists that contribute to a higher quality of life.
The 2021 National Community Survey provides the results of Bloomington resident responses to questions about overall livability and compares them to resident perspectives gathered in surveys from more than 600 communities whose residents evaluated the same kinds of topics. The comparison evaluations are from the most recent survey completed in each community in the last five years.
The below summary shows the comparisons of some of Bloomington’s survey results to those from other communities. Bloomington’s results are noted as being “higher,” “lower” or “similar” to the benchmark, meaning that the average rating given by Bloomington residents is statistically similar to or different than the benchmark.
For a complete listing of benchmark comparisons, see page 36 of the 2021 National Citizen Survey at blm.mn/NCS21.
A snapshot of 2021 survey ratings and community comparisons
|Quality of Life in Bloomington||Rating (Excellent or good)||Community Comparison|
|Bloomington as a place to live||91%||Similar|
|Your neighborhood as a place to live||88%||Similar|
|Overall quality of life in Bloomington||90%||Similar|
|Characteristics of Bloomington|
|Quality of the transportation system||71%||Similar|
|Quality of the utility infrastructure (water, sewer, storm water, electric/gas)||88%||Higher|
|Feeling of safety||80%||Similar|
|Quality of natural environment||89%||Similar|
|Quality of parks and recreation opportunities||89%||Similar|
|Health and wellness opportunities||84%||Similar|
|Opportunities for education, culture and the arts||81%||Similar|
|Residents' connection and engagement with their community||58%||Similar|
|Variety of housing options||68%||Higher|
|Availability of affordable quality housing||48%||Similar|
|Variety of business and service establishments||76%||Higher|
|Vibrancy of shopping areas||64%||Similar|
|Public places where people want to spend time||74%||Similar|
|Overall image or reputation||75%||Similar|
|Making all residents feel welcome||79%||Similar|
|Attracting people from diverse backgrounds||79%||Higher|
|City government performance|
|Overall confidence in Bloomington government||67%||Similar|
|The value of services for the taxes paid||66%||Similar|
|Overall direction that Bloomington is taking||67%||Similar|
|Quality of City of Bloomington services||80%||Similar|
|Welcoming resident involvement||64%||Similar|
|Being open and transparent to the public||66%||Similar|
|Informing residents about issues facing the community||68%||Similar|
About The NCS™
The National Community Survey™ (The NCS™) report is about the “livability” of Bloomington. A livable community is a place that is not simply habitable, but that is desirable. It is not only where people do live, but where they want to live. The survey was developed by the experts at Polco's National Research Center.
Great communities are partnerships of the government, private sector, community-based organizations and residents, all geographically connected. The NCS captures residents’ opinions considering ten central facets of a community:
- Community Design
- Natural Environment
- Parks and Recreation
- Health and Wellness
- Education, Arts, and Culture
- Inclusivity and Engagement
The report provides the opinions of a representative sample of 732 Bloomington residents collected from April 20, 2021 to June 8, 2021. The margin of error around any reported percentage is 4% for all respondents and the response rate for the 2021 survey was 21%. Survey results were weighted so that the demographic profile of respondents was representative of the demographic profile of adults in Bloomington.
In April 2016, the City of Bloomington’s leadership team and staff engaged with the City Council on a strategic planning process for the three-year period of 2017- 2020. The strategic plan consisted of a set of six strategic priorities – issues of highest priority for the City Council. The six strategic priorities were:
- Community amenities
- Community image
- Focused renewal
- Environmental sustainability
- High quality service delivery
- Inclusion and equity
Within each strategic priority was a set of desired outcomes, key outcome indicators, and performance targets which described expected results and how the results would be measured. In May - June 2016, City staff and community partners developed strategic initiatives for each priority that defined the actions that would be taken to achieve the targeted outcomes.
The City Council amended the strategic plan in February 2020 to add “engagement and transparency” as a seventh strategic priority. Since communication and engagement are key components of most City projects and initiatives, this priority encouraged staff and Council to think more intentionally about when it was appropriate to use various forms of engagement (ranging from the most basic tactic of informing, all the way to empowerment). This priority also put an emphasis on how the City communicates its plans and expectations with residents and stakeholders.
In early 2021, the City Council decided to continue its strategic plan through the end of 2021. The Council also added the following initiatives under three of its strategic priorities:
- Environmental sustainability: Enhance natural resources
- Focused renewal: Home ownership opportunities; diversity local economy; neighborhood commercial nodes
- High quality service delivery: Staff innovation/boldness
The City Council received progress reports from staff for each of its strategic priorities on a quarterly basis. These quarterly updates were made available to the public on the City’s website.
Below is a chart of the original strategic plan indicating desired outcomes, key outcome indicators, performance targets and strategic initiatives for each priority. Also enclosed is a summary of how the City performed in in meeting the performance targets for each strategic initiative.
Performance target outcomes
Comprehensive funding strategy for capital needs
- Performance Target: Capital Improvement Plan adopted Q2 2018.
- Update: The 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is adopted by City Council before December 31 of each year. The performance target was intended to align the timing of the CIP with the adoption of the yearly budget. The 2021-2030 CIP was adopted December 21, 2020.
- Community center decision Performance Target: Following task force input, series of City Council decisions on whether to move forward, and if so, site options, funding strategies, etc., starting in January 2017. Update: In December 2019, the City Council decided that a proposal for a community center design at Valley View Park was not viable and no formal action was taken. The need for facility and park investments was addressed in the Park System Master Plan, adopted in August 2021. The plan includes a comparison with benchmark communities and national standards for recreation facilities.
Strong support for City-owned amenities and park/recreation facilities
- Performance Target: Majority of survey responses indicate strong support for facilities and parks.
- Update: Below are the percentages of respondents to the annual National Community Survey of Bloomington residents who rated Bloomington’s parks and recreational facilities as excellent or good:
|City Parks||Recreation Centers or Facilities|
- Performance Target: One Bloomington marketing campaign adopted by Q3 2017.
- Update: Since launching the One Bloomington marketing campaign in 2017, the City has continuously promoted each of the One Bloomington strategic priorities to the community through video, cable television, print, social media and events such as the State of the City.
Positive image of Bloomington
- Performance Target: 85% of residents report favorable image.
- Update: The percentage of respondents to the annual National Community Survey of Bloomington residents who rated Bloomington’s overall image as excellent since 2016 is reported below:
Joint marketing with school district
- Performance Target: Three marketing activities with school district.
- Update: Joint marketing efforts have included:
- Promotion of School-City partnership and joint activities;
- Targeted promotion of the School District’s activities and achievements via print, video and State of the City events;
- Use of the City’s communications channels and resources to highlight and market specific school activities.
Reduce citywide carbon footprint
- Performance Target: Reduce Bloomington’s greenhouse gas emissions with an energy-related performance target of 75% reduction by 2035.
- Update: The City tracks Bloomington’s natural gas and electricity emissions savings on an annual basis.
Improve surface water quality
- Performance Target: Meet adopted standard for each water body.
- Update: 2020 surface water monitoring results indicated the 2018 Normandale Lake project has reduced frequency and biomass of curly-leaf pondweed. 2020 summer averages for water quality indicators met state shallow lake standards for chlorophyll a concentration and Secchi disc transparency depth, but exceeded standards for total phosphorus concentration. Chloride concentrations were found to be below the chronic MPCA criterion
Hyland Lake was listed as impaired for nutrients by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2016. The City worked with Three Rivers Park District to support several years of curly-leaf pondweed treatments. In 2019, Three Rivers Park District completed an alum treatment on Hyland Lake in partnership with the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District. Surface water quality monitoring results for 2020 found Hyland Lake to be meeting state standards for chlorophyll a concentration, secchi disc transparency depth, and total phosphorus concentration. Monitoring efforts will continue.
Reduce volumes delivered to landfills/incinerators
- Performance Target: 10% reduction in tonnage.
- Update: In 2019, the diversion rate was 27%. The estimated residential solid waste diversion rate for 2020 was 36%. New in 2020, the diversion rate included the estimated tons of yard waste composted based on direction from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The inclusion of yard waste composting in the overall estimated residential diversion rate for 2020 is the main reason for the reported 9% increase in diversion.
Estimated residential diversion rate = Estimated residential waste diverted (curbside recycling, estimated curbside yard waste, estimated community organics drop-offs, curbside cleanup appliance recycling) divided by residential waste generation (curbside trash collection, curbside cleanup trash, curbside recycling, curbside yard waste collection, community organics drop-offs, and curbside cleanup appliance recycling).
Enhance natural resources (added Q1 2021)
- Performance Target: Identify a list of projects for resident participation/partnership; identify grant-funding resources and other interagency/foundation funding opportunities; explore whether there are ways the City could knit “community” together for these projects.
- Update: The Sustainability Commission worked with Parks and Recreation and Park Maintenance staff to develop activities in 2021 designed to engage residents and bring people together around natural resources. These included: Earth Day Celebration; garlic mustard pull at Parker’s Picnic Grounds; tree planting at Countryside Park, Tarnhill Park and River Ridge playlot; and a buckthorn bust/Zumba event.
The Park System Master Plan is recommending the creation of a natural resources management plan that will develop a priority list of restoration projects and suggest potential funding sources for completing the work. It is anticipated that a focus on natural resources restoration will continue to be a significant part of the Sustainability Commission’s work plan in 2022.
More affordable housing
- Performance Target: Meet Met Council 2030 affordable housing target.
- Update: The development pipeline continues to grow with affordable housing units. Development of affordable units is at 72% of the Metropolitan Council’s 2030 affordable housing target and is on track to exceed the City’s goals.
Renew priority neighborhood commercial nodes
- Performance Target: Meet adopted schedule.
- Update: Redevelopment strategies for Bloomington’s top three neighborhood commercial nodes – Old Cedar Avenue and Old Shakopee Road, 98th Street and Nicollet Avenue, and Portland Avenue and American Boulevard – were identified and prioritization was completed. There has not been as much opportunity for commercial redevelopment.
Successful neighborhood renewal innovation
- Performance Target: Council and neighborhood agree on successful project innovation.
- Update: The 2019 Neighborhood Focus Area program was administered as well as the Curb Appeal Loan Program. In 2020, 51 home improvement program loans were completed that included a focus on exterior improvements. The loans were offered citywide to income-qualified homeowners at a maximum of $35,000. The Curb Appeal loan program was paused in 2020 due to declining participation, as homeowners opted for the citywide home improvement loan program.
Home ownership opportunities (added Q1 2021)
- Performance Target: Research home ownership opportunities in other cities and evaluate their applicability to Bloomington; develop/enhance a marketing program; follow the research of the Federal Reserve Bank on home ownership; study flexible zoning and land use policies regarding R-1 districts.
- Update: A City-sponsored down payment assistance program, including marketing strategies, will be recommended by fourth quarter 2021. Federal Reserve Bank home ownership research has been followed and staff were included in ongoing focus groups and conversations. A project to review and revise zoning standards for single family dwellings, two-family dwellings and accessory dwelling units is underway, with completion anticipated in the first half of 2022.
Diversify local economy (added Q1 2021)
- Performance Target: Assess staff/organizational capacity for traditional economic development activity; research establishment of an Economic Development Authority (EDA).
- Update: The Bloomington Port Authority has the statutory powers of an Economic Development Authority and more. Whether the City, Port Authority and Housing and Redevelopment Authority should reorganize to address Economic Development Authority activities, rebrand or add an EDA will be the subject of a service assessment scheduled for completion in fourth quarter 2021. The service assessment will include an analysis of staffing needs to add EDA functionality.
Neighborhood commercial nodes (added Q1 2021)
- Performance Target: Spur redevelopment with economic development/expansion diversification ideas.
- Update: Opportunity for commercial redevelopment in additional areas has been identified and currently in varying stages of the redevelopment process. The Lyndale Avenue Retrofit, 90th Street and Penn Avenue, Portland Avenue and American Boulevard, Penn American District, 98th Street Station Plan and the small business survey will help direct future economic development support.
High Quality Service Delivery
Financial sustainability of all funds
- Performance Target: Each of the approved budgets should include working capital goals and actual/projected workin capital balances. The actual/projected working capital balances should be at 80% or better of the working capital goal.
- Update: Of 32 budgeted funds, 24 have working capital balances of more than 90% of their working capital goals.
- The General Fund working capital balance was at 118% of its working capital goal at the end of 2020.
- Four funds are between 60% to 90% of their working capital goals – Cemetery, Park Grants, Water Utility Operating, and Motor Vehicle.
- The Golf Course and Enhanced 911 funds are between 25% to 34% of their working capital goals.
- For the Accrued Benefits Fund, current assets were 82% of accrued long-term liabilities, with a goal of being 100% funded by 2032.
- Long-term models for these funds show working capital balances achieving at least 80% of their goals in the next 2 to 7 years.
Meet customer expectations
- Performance Target: 85% satisfied customers.
|Customer service||Excellent or good|
Improved customer service
- Performance Target: Meet targeted improvement levels in five areas as determined by survey results, staff analysis and community/customer feedback.
- Update: Service assessments that incorporated survey results, staff analyses and community/customer feedback were completed in six areas:
- 2017 – Print Shop
- 2018 – Public Health, Human Services (which was restructured into the Community Outreach and Engagement Division)
- 2020 – Fleet Maintenance, Fire Services, Police Dispatch
Staff innovation/boldness (added Q1 2021)
- Performance Target: Utilize rapid prototyping that focuses on refinement while implementing.
- Update: Initiatives that utilized a rapid prototyping approach in 2021 have included:
- A new energy disclosure component of the Time of Sale housing evaluation that would provide property buyers with information on the energy performance of the home, bringing visibility and value to home energy improvements.
- The proposed large building benchmarking ordinance would require large commercial, multifamily, and public buildings to be benchmarked annually in order to address the City’s community development and climate goals.
- An ordinance amendment that prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, and sunset the availability of new tobacco retail licenses in the city in order to protect youth and marginalized communities from the harms of commercial tobacco products.
- The Just Deeds project, which is focused on helping owners remove discriminatory covenants from properties.
- An equitable contracting microbusiness, which is applying a racial equity lens to the City’s purchasing procedures in order to break down barriers and encourage more small, minority-owned, women-owned and underutilized businesses to engage with the City.
- New components to the City’s recruitment process such as a search committee and recruitment plan designed to increase the diversity of the organization’s workforce so that it mirror’s Bloomington’s population and increases diversity in leadership positions.
- A racial equity impact assessment tool that integrates explicit consideration of racial equity in City decisions, including policies, practices, programs and budgets.
Inclusion and Equity
More diverse advisory boards
- Performance Target: Composition of boards is reflective of the community.
More diverse workforce
- Performance Target: Workforce is reflective of the community.
More diverse program participation
- Performance Target: Increase in share of program participants who identify as racial or ethnic minorities.
- Update: Excluding certain select areas, program participation data is generally not collected and disaggregated by race by the City. The Racial Equity Business Plan adopted by the City Council commits to tracking outreach event participation by race. The City has the opportunity to begin tracking event participation by utilizing some version of contact cards at events and/or requesting the information via registration channels.
Engagement and Transparency (added Q1 2020)
- Performance Target: Ensure proactive communication around City projects and services and create multiple channels for civic engagement and feedback.
- Update: The Community Outreach and Engagement Division was established in 2019 to use innovative and authentic approaches to facilitate, engage and connect with internal and external stakeholders. The division also serves as an advocate and change agent to ensure the community is considered, accounted for and heard in the development and delivery of programs and services.
Initiatives designed to ensure proactive communication around City projects and services have included:
- Let’s Talk Bloomington, an online digital engagement tool for community conversations on current and future projects
- “Council Minute,” a weekly video series hosted by Mayor Tim Busse featuring highlights from each City Council meeting and other City news.
- A change in the start time of City Council meetings from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. to provide more flexibility and opportunity for resident engagement.
- “Q & A with BPD,” a video series where the police chief, police officers and staff answer questions from residents.
- Polco, a web-based survey tool to solicit real-time feedback.
- A series of public outreach events to solicit community input on the Park Master Plan and Lyndale Avenue Retrofit projects.
- A Community Budget Advisory Committee that engaged with the community on the City’s budget and services to inform their recommendations on the 2021 budget for the City Council.
- Virtual meetings on a regular basis throughout the pandemic with Bloomington’s faith communities, multi-unit housing managers, community leaders, seniors and congregate living facilities to provide information on City services and resources.
Forward 2040 Comprehensive Plan
The City started the process of updating its comprehensive plan - Forward 2040 - in 2016 by articulating a vision for Bloomington’s future that reflects how Bloomington has, and continues to change. The City’s population had remained relatively stable since 1970, but has become much more diverse and thousands of new jobs have been added. By 2040, the Metropolitan Council forecasts that Bloomington will add 6,000 additional residents and 17,000 additional jobs. To implement the vision, the Forward 2040 plan established a set of goals and policies to guide future land uses and investments in City services such as parks, community facilities, transportation, and sewer and water systems over the next 20 years.
Minnesota law requires all cities, counties and townships within the seven-county metropolitan region to update their comprehensive plan every 10 years. Community engagement is a cornerstone of the comprehensive planning process. In the summer of 2016, City employees hosted three town hall meetings to gather ideas and input from community. The meetings focused on topics identified as priorities for Bloomington’s future, including: sustainability, diversity and engagement, and City amenities and aging infrastructure.
Identifying aging infrastructure
Much of Bloomington’s public infrastructure (roads, parks, sewers, fire stations) and housing were built to accommodate the City’s rapid growth in the ‘60s and ‘70s. While roads are routinely upgraded through the City’s Pavement Management Program and private homes are continually renovated by their owners, other public infrastructure is nearing the end of its serviceable life and will need replacement in coming years. For example, the City’s fire stations and some park buildings are more than 40 years old. There are also many sewer pipes and water mains that are more than 50 years old. These public facilities are critical to the quality of life in Bloomington and replacement must be done in a strategic manner.
Resident advisory committee
In September of 2016, the City Council appointed a resident advisory committee to assist staff with Forward 2040. Half of the advisory committee members were representatives from the City’s various boards and commissions. The other half were residents. The advisory committee met monthly, beginning in October 2016 and through 2017. City staff worked with the advisory committee to draft policies and strategies, which were subject to public review in a series of town hall meetings that occurred in summer and fall 2017.
Public comment and recommendations
Many opportunities were provided for the public to comment on the recommendations in the draft Forward 2040 Comprehensive Plan update in 2018 at various public events, including farmers markets, Summer Fete, Heritage Days and more. In late 2018, informational meetings and public hearings were held with the Bloomington City Council, Planning Commission, and other City advisory commissions. The purpose of these meetings was to get feedback and direction on key aspects of the plan, such as: the vision, identification of priority issues and opportunities, and goals and strategies.
The final plan
A final draft of the Forward 2040 plan was submitted for the Metropolitan Council’s review in December 2018. The Metropolitan Council approved the plan in July 2019 and the City Council adopted the Forward 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update in August 2019. The adopted Forward 2040 document addresses comments received during the review and community engagement processes. Read the plan at blm.mn/plan/forward-2040-documents.
Opportunity Housing Ordinance
The City’s Opportunity Housing ordinance promotes the development of new affordable housing and the preservation of existing naturally occurring affordable housing while furthering private market development in the city. As a result of the ordinance, developers will now offer at least 9% affordable units in all newly constructed and renovated housing developments of 20 units or more. The City has also increased flexibility in building and design requirements, reduced fees, expedited the approval process and increased financial resources available to housing developers as incentives to produce affordable housing.
Housing is affordable when rent or mortgage costs are equal to 30% or less of a household’s income. The HRA’s affordable housing goals include promoting the development of new affordable housing and preservation of existing naturally occurring affordable housing while furthering private market development.
2030 Goal: Preserve naturally occurring affordable housing
There are 4,602 naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) rental units in 94 apartment buildings throughout Bloomington. HRA is developing community engagement strategies to improve communications with property owners and tenants to preserve NOAH units. Considering the economic impacts of COVID-19, the preservation of NOAH property is more crucial now than ever. HRA is leveraging sources for development activities that assist in the stabilization of NOAH units, such as acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and new construction.
2030 Goal: Develop 845 new affordable units
HRA is off to a strong start in supporting the need for both affordable and market rate rental housing in the City since the launch of the Opportunity Housing Ordinance and establishment of a $15 million Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2019.
Park System Master Plan
In August 2021, the City Council adopted the Park System Master Plan, which provides a clear action plan and guidance for improvements to Bloomington’s parks, trails, facilities, recreational programs and green spaces.
“We want to ensure that generations to come will benefit from the continued enjoyment of Bloomington’s beautiful parks and amenities,” Stephanie Tungseth, Chair of the Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission said. “The thoughtful and methodical framework of the plan will enable the City of Bloomington to have the flexibility needed to continually meet the needs of its dynamic and ever-changing community and the community’s needs.”
Ensuring the vibrancy of parks and green spaces for decades to come
The purpose of the Park System Master Plan was to establish a clear, 20-year vision for the Bloomington park system, which includes parks, trails, recreation, and open space. It will serve as a blueprint for planning and completing park improvements, program planning, and budgeting to serve the needs of the community.
The development of the plan took nearly two years. “This plan is what it is today due to the staff’s desire and attempts at soliciting our community’s engagement, their prioritization to meaningfully integrate the community feedback into the plan, and their extensive data-driven research,” PARC Member Laura Perreault said.
A plan developed with extensive community engagement
The extensive community engagement process that occurred between November 2019 and June 2021 included a statistically valid survey, stakeholder interviews, listening sessions, conversations with residents and staff, and online interactive engagement via project bloom! and the City’s Let’s Talk Bloomington site.
Four “Priority Park Elements” established
Based on the extensive engagement and participation of the public, staff, PARC and City Council in the planning process, four “Priority Park Elements” were established:
- Natural resources
- Park system need—level of service
- Trails and mobility
For more information about the plan, visit blm.mn/park-master-plan.