Skip to main content

Greetings and welcome to our Board and Commission Appreciation Celebration!

This is the fourth time I’ve enjoyed the chance to welcome all our board and commission members serving the City of Bloomington to the same place at the same time, and it’s a great tradition. Each of you focuses on a particular aspect of City life, but you all share a dedication to the greater good. What a powerful network! What positive energy is brimming in this room! 

Tonight is about board and commission members, but I also want to welcome our City Council members who are joining us this evening.  With us tonight are ………………………We also have city department heads: …………………………

I also want to thank the folks who make this wonderful event happen. This is our first mixer in this gorgeous space, opened only last month, to enhance our beloved Cascades Park, supported by the Board of Parks Commissioners. Please join me in thanking Mary Catherine Carmichael, Beverly Calender-Anderson, Elizabeth Karon, Celeste Wolfinger, Andrew Krebbs and Paul Stahlke (STALL-KEY) for corralling the people and resources required to make tonight’s event possible. 

Another group of people deserve thanks -- folks who connect and support our boards and commissions. These people get you the information you need, arrange a million details, and often advise you, too, guiding you through often complicated laws, ordinances and policies. These board and commission liaisons attend meetings and events, keep up-to-date on developments and plan for the future. They do hours of prep work to support your efforts and keep all of us on the same page. They do it well, professionally, and with grace and almost unfailing good humor. Liaisons, please raise your hands, and let’s thank them!

But tonight is really about the 250 plus of you who serve on more than 40 city boards and commissions. You are why we are here. Think about the number of person-hours you represent -- many thousands of hours!  And of course beyond your time, it is also your expertise, the wisdom and judgment you provide from your respective fields -- your education and training, your professional lives, and your lived experience. Whether you come from the neighborhoods, the advocacy world, the business sector, the academic world, the art and music scene, the service industry, the medical world, or any number of backgrounds, your expertise provides an important sounding board and extends the City’s ability to make good decisions.     

I feel so lucky to serve a city with so many principled, engaged residents, for whom this commitment is a labor of love. Of all the many causes you could and do give yourself to, you choose to devote a part of your time and talent directly to your city.       

Together, we’re accomplishing great things. For the old and the young. In the last year, we’ve opened a long-discussed Senior Center at the College Mall. Thanks for your support, Commission on Aging! A major shout-out to the Commission on the Status of Children and Youth, who oversaw the inaugural Youth Participatory Budgeting initiative, where a group of our young people led a democratic process to allocate $15,000 of our City Budget. Then there’s the Teen Roundtable, and the SWAGGER Awards, powerful channels of engagement for Bloomington’s next generation.    

We’ve got sight and sound. With significant additions to our City’s collection of public art -- at the Graduate Hotel and in the Trades District, and just tomorrow night, we’ll be switching on the lights at Switchyard, dedicating Bloomington’s fantastic new park, and the next in our City’s string of precious pearls. (Join us tomorrow evening at 6 at the Pavilion, or Sunday from 11 to 3 if you’re able!). The Second Annual Street Fair rocked up Kirkwood in April, and the second annual Black y Brown Festival expanded from one to three days this year. And think of Fiesta del Otoño at the Farmers’ Market, thank you Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs!.

You help build things, like Switchyard Park, and accessible sidewalk ramps, and new sidewalks and improved alleys, like rehabbing affordable and public housing, and like the Trades District, which in May officially opened Maker Way and the extended Madison Street, completing infrastructure improvements to round out this exciting new tech hub.

You help people gather, for Martin Luther King weekend or Women’s History Lunch, or the first Fall Family Bike Fest in October, or 50 young men for the Black Male Youth Summit last spring, or just yesterday, with 110 young women for our first Young Women’s Leadership Summit. 

You help us plan, whether for individual building projects or historical structures, or our first ever citywide Sustainability Plan, or parking strategies or new transit routes, or our Transportation Demand Management Study, to help the city encourage alternatives to single-occupancy-vehicle transportation, or the many hearings of the UDO, as our community strives to manage our beautiful city and create more affordable housing and a more sustainable urban footprint.

You help us measure and be accountable, like with the first GreenHouse Gas inventory, or our Urban Tree Inventory or our housing study.  

You support justice and safety and caring, with oversight of police and fire departments, and human rights and diversity, and our animal residents.

You oversee our water system, and our public housing, and our transit system -- basics of life for our whole community.

You inspire us to aim higher, with support for better day care, and more solar panels, and more native plantings and greener water infrastructure and more trails and better sanitation services.

There are just literally too many projects and activities to cover, as you embrace and improve our city. You help make life a bit brighter, healthier, safer, more hopeful, more abundant, more just, more accessible...for more people every day, here in our beloved Bloomington.  

And ahead of course lie a new expanded convention center, the transformation of the current hospital site into a new downtown neighborhood, climate change mitigation and adaptation, more trees and more trails, new investments at the Trades District, more art, more gatherings, more aiming higher. Ever higher.

This happens because each of you plays a significant role, with those long hours reviewing reports and attending those after-work meetings, and talking about options and sharing ideas and recommending directions. Your legacy is this thriving, dynamic, creative, inclusive city we call home. Thank you. 

I would love to be able to call each of you forward individually tonight, to thank you for your selfless service. But alas, there are too many of you for that, if we want to have time to mingle. So, when I call out your commission or board, please stand or wave and let everyone know who you are -- 

Animal Control Commission

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission

BIDAC (Bloomington Industrial Development Advisory Commission)

Bloomington Arts Commission

Bloomington Digital Underground Advisory Committee

Board of Park Commissioners

Board of Public Safety

Board of Public Works

Board of Zoning Appeals

CDBG Funding Citizens Advisory Committee

Commission on Aging

Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs

Commission on Sustainability

Commission on the Status of Black Males

Commission on the Status of Children & Youth

Commission on the Status of Women

Council for Community Accessibility

Dispatch Policy Board

Economic Development Commission

Environmental Commission

Farmers' Market Advisory Council

Firefighters Pension Board

Historic Preservation Commission

Housing Authority Board

Housing Quality Appeals Board

Human Rights Commission

Jack Hopkins Social Services Funding Committee

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Commission

Monroe County Domestic Violence Coalition

Parking Commission

Plan Commission

Plat Committee

Police Pension Board

Public Safety Local Income Tax Committee

Public Transportation Corporation Board of Directors

Redevelopment Commission

Telecommunications Council

Traffic Commission

Tree Commission

Urban Enterprise Association

Utilities Service Board

 

All of you, talented, principled, dedicated people, we are deeply thankful for and humbled by your commitment to Bloomington.  

On behalf of all the people of Bloomington -- those living here today, those visiting us daily, and perhaps most importantly, on behalf of those who will be living here in the future, thank you for sharing your gifts with all of them -- all of us -- to make so many lives better.

As the great scientist and inventor, George Washington Carver, said: “It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.” And you, then, are an extraordinarily successful group. The City of Bloomington thanks you and sincerely appreciates you.

Now on to the party…

 

Mayor Hamilton

 

Speeches