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Page last updated on September 2, 2022 at 1:53 pm


Recover Forward is a multi-year initiative to help our community rebound and thrive, moving toward more racial, economic, and climate justice as we do.





What is Recover Forward?

Recover Forward is Mayor John Hamilton’s plan for Bloomington’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic collapse. Launched in July 2020, Recover Forward seeks not only to repair Bloomington but to renew it. Rather than restoring a pre-pandemic normal, Recover Forward seeks to lean into a future that is more consistent with our values. Recover Forward will rebuild Bloomington in a way that more thoroughly embodies our community’s goals for racial equity, a sustainable and resilient economy, and climate action.  


Racial Justice

Bloomington’s recovery into the community we envision requires that we confront racism, discrimination, and intolerance and invest in ways to cultivate equity and inclusion. Recovering Forward toward racial equity will involve reviewing, reconsidering, and refreshing processes, programs, plans, and purchases across City government. City of Bloomington Plan to Advance Racial EquityClick here.


Economic Justice

To Recover Forward, Bloomington must foster a sustainable, resilient, and equitable economy. The plan seeks to stimulate, strengthen, and diversify the local economy, attract employers, grow jobs and wages for those of different qualifications, and build resiliency and equity. Bloomington’s bright future is a place where all residents thrive, with meaningful work, competitive wages, adequate housing, and a high quality of life.


Climate Justice

As the community rebuilds from the public health and economic crises, the recovery model must foreground environmental sustainability and climate justice. While human health and finances have taken center stage during the COVID-19 crisis, the climate emergency has not retreated. Recover Forward integrates Bloomington’s actions to prepare for and mitigate the effects of global climate change into a comprehensive plan for heightened resilience.






The Bloomington Common Council approved reallocating $2 million of 2019 reversion funds on August 12, 2020, as the first in a multi-phase strategy to help the community rebound and thrive in the face of concurrent crises. Projects in the first phase of Recover Forward include expanding access to jobs through training/education, housing, transportation options, renewable energy, social services, food, the arts, and the internet.  


2020 Projects:


Code School: $100K

This low-cost, 12-week coding training program launched in October 2020, focused on helping people who are un- or underemployed, underrepresented, or interested in training, access a tech career. Leading this initiative, The Mill worked with gener8tor, a Midwest-based startup accelerator, to provide the training, and intends to partner with IU, Ivy Tech, and several local employers to integrate Code School participants into Bloomington’s growing tech community. The first cohort of 40 participants graduated on December 11, 2020. Click here to learn more about the program.



Affordable Home Ownership: $450K

The City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department (HAND) is launching two new programs to assist homebuyers who have difficulty accessing the Bloomington homeownership market, and simultaneously establishing long-term affordability of some homes. HAND has developed the application for assistance and is finalizing the mortgage, promissory note, and other documents necessary to underwrite the loans.  HAND staff will be sharing promotional materials about the homeownership programs to distribute to financial institutions and local realtors about both programs:


  • Downpayment Assistance: $100K

This program builds directly on an existing federally funded HAND program and offers homebuying-ready families up to $10,000 to help with a down payment needed to purchase a home.


  • Shared Appreciation Home Ownership, 2nd Mortgage Assistance: $350K

This program provides larger purchase assistance to potential homebuyers -- up to $50,000 and at least 20% of the purchase price -- to facilitate the purchase, in exchange for permanent affordability of the home through shared appreciation.



Sidewalk and Path Enhancements: $400K

This program will focus on investments in low- and moderate-income areas to improve ADA curb ramps, bike lane, and bike path pavement, and repair sidewalk damage caused by street trees. Public Works staff is preparing bid and quote packages for the following contracts, with specific locations under review:  

  • A package of sidewalk replacement projects valued at $250,000 is currently in the final design and will be out to bid next week, with a bid award expected at the December 8 meeting of the Board of Public Works.

  •  A package of sidewalk grinding projects valued at $50,000 is eliminating more than 1,100 sidewalk potential trip hazards in the downtown area. This cost-effective solution has so enhanced pedestrian mobility that the Public Works Department has executed another $50,000 contract using existing funds to continue these improvements this year. 

  • A package of asphalt sealing and multi-use sidepath repair projects valued at $50,000 will repair bike lanes and resurface on Longview Avenue from Pete Ellis Drive to Glenwood Drive. Additional small scale projects are being identified for the $20,000 that remains for these efforts.

  • Two $25,000 smaller sidewalk packages for panel repair damaged by roots from trees in city-owned tree plots have been contracted out, with work beginning on these efforts. 



Sidewalk/Path Improvements for BT Stops: $250K

This project will improve accessibility to at least 25 Bloomington Transit (BT) bus stops. The stops were chosen based on BT’s 2019 accessibility inventory, a comprehensive bus stop assessment and inventory that evaluated and rated each bus stop according to ADA and accessibility guidelines. 



Jack Hopkins: $200K

The City Council’s Jack Hopkins Social Service Committee convened in September 2020 to reconsider grant proposals from nonprofit agencies made during the first round of awards, to allocate additional funding as quickly as possible. The committee reached out to nonprofit agencies and considered several scenarios in order to maximize the benefit of this funding for the populations the agencies serve. Click here for the committee's funding recommendation in 2020. Click here for the 2021 recommendations.



Net New Job Incentives (to Small Businesses and Organizations): $375K

  • Re-entry support:  The City’s departments of Public Works and Economic and Sustainable Development have worked in collaboration to execute two contracts for direct employment support of up to 15 individuals with Centerstone ($100K for up to 10 clients per day) and Made Up Mind ($50K for up to five clients per day) to assist with city-wide maintenance efforts in coordination with the Department of Public Works’ Street and Facilities Divisions that will continue into 2021. 

  • Additional funds ($50K) allowed the Department of Parks & Recreation to expand its existing Centerstone Service Agreement Program Partnership (piloted in 2017 in the high-volume parks in the downtown area) this season to hire additional clients of Centerstone as crew assigned to park maintenance, Switchyard Park landscaping, playground sanitation, and maintenance at several Sport Division facilities, including Winslow Sports Park, the Frank Southern Center, Twin Lakes Softball Park, and Twin Lakes Recreation Center. 


  • Building Trades:  Additional funds ($100K) will allow the City to partner with Ivy Tech Community College to bring the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) curriculum and essential equipment to the Ivy Tech Bloomington campus to train 50 students over the course of 2021. This program offers a direct response to the call for skilled workers within the growing building trades sector and will seek to serve underemployed or unemployed residents.


  • Direct New Job Support ($75K): These funds will offset a portion of the costs associated with the permanent, full-time hiring of individuals who have participated in any of the Recover Forward Re-Entry Support programs.



Life Sciences Support: $50K 

Ivy Tech has concluded a 28-student cohort of the Biomanufacturing Apprenticeship Program supported by Recover Forward, a free three-week training in skills needed to gain employment in the region’s robust biomanufacturing sector. The 110-hour, three-week course features two weeks of biomanufacturing-specific content and one week of soft skills content and includes an interview process with local manufacturers.  The fall cohort had a 100% graduation rate and the Ivy Tech Office of Workforce Alignment anticipates nearly all graduates will receive jobs with the three interviewing employers: Catalent, Boston Scientific, and Baxter. The program was developed by Hoosier Hills Career Center, in partnership with Ivy Tech, WorkOne, and industry partners Catalent and Boston Scientific. Click here for more information.



Energy Efficiency—Commercial & Residential Improvements: $250K

Through energy-efficiency loans and grants, this program will reduce energy burden and operational costs for eligible homeowners, renters and small businesses, primarily targeting income-restricted homes or small businesses as well as multi-family units managed by property management companies with greater than five units.  The  Economic and Sustainable Development Department (ESD) is currently designing program elements, starting to engage with community partners, and exploring administrative platforms for servicing loans to be made through the program.



Farm Stop: $75K (initial investment)

This project addresses the fragility of the local food system by creating a consignment-based, local-only grocery store, following the successful model developed by the Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  ESD’s Local Food Coordinator is meeting with the local growers who will be partners in this farmer-owned cooperative, and with Bloomingfoods, which may serve as an intermediary fiscal sponsor and offer other operating support.



Arts Community: $100K

ESD staff developed a grant process to ensure the rapid dissemination of funds before the end of the year 2020 with an additional $100K allocated to support the city’s arts institutions and programs. Recover Forward Phase One grant recipients include Artisan Alley, Blockhouse Bar, Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, Bloomington Chamber Singers, Bloomington Creative Glass Center, Bloomington Early Music Festival, Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Cardinal Stage, Forgotten Clefs, Inc., Indiana Review, Indiana University Writers’ Conference, Las Aves, Lotus Education and Arts Foundation, Midway Music Speaks, Monroe County History Center, Orbit Room, Reimagining Opera for Kids, The Ryder Magazine & Film Series, W the Trees, Windfall Dancers, and Writers Guild at Bloomington, Inc. Read the full press release–Click here.   



Digital Equity: $35K

The City’s Information Technology Services department has developed best practices for setting up and administering a digital equity grants fund to support local nonprofits in their efforts to bridge the digital divide. At the same time, staff have also reviewed best practices of other cities with digital equity funds and established a subcommittee of the Bloomington Digital Underground Advisory Committee for the review of grant proposals. Recover Forward Phase One grant recipients include Area 10 Agency on Aging, Artisan Alley, Farmer House Museum/Tech Heroes, Hotels4Homelessness/New Leaf New Life, Monroe County Community School Corporation, and Monroe County Public Library. Read the full press release–Click here.










The passage of the 2021 budget, which was first presented to council during the week of August 17, 2020, marked the second phase of the Recover Forward plan, with a reallocation of $4 million of City reserves among departments to protect basic services during this challenging time and advance projects to increase racial, economic, and climate justice. Click here for the Mayor's FY2021 Budget Overview. Below you have the option of watching the full City Council meetings or watching the presentations of specific departments. 


FY2021 Budget Presentations

Overview by Mayor Hamilton on August 17–Click here.

FY2021 Full Budget Proposal–Click here.

2021 Org Charts–Click here.


October 14: Mayor Hamilton's Remarks to City Council on 2021 Budget–Click here.

September 9: Written Budget Questions/Answers to City Council Questions–Click here.


August 20, 2020: Department of Public Works Presentation–Click here.

August 20: Engineering Presentation–Click here.

August 20: Planning & Transportation Presentation–Click here.

August 20: Utilities Presentation–Click here.

August 20: Full Budget Presentation Meeting–Click here.

August 20: All August 20 Budget Slides–Click here.


August 19, 2020: Parks & Recreation Presentation–Click here.

August 19: Community & Family Resources Department Presentation–Click here.

August 19: Economic & Sustainable Development Presentation–Click here.

August 19: HAND Presentation–Click here.

August 19: Bloomington Transit Presentation–Click here.

August 19: Full Budget Presentation Meeting–Click here.

August 19: All August 19 Budget Slides–Click here.


August 18, 2020: Bloomington Fire Department Presentation–Click here.

August 18: Bloomington Police Department Presentation–Click here.

August 18: Full Budget Presentation Meeting–Click here.

August 18: All August 18 Budget Slides–Click here.


August 17, 2020: Office of the Mayor Presentation–Click here.

August 17: Controller Office Presentation–Click here.

August 17: Council Office Presentation–Click here.

August 17: ITS Presentation–Click here.

August 17: City Clerk Presentation–Click here.

August 17: Legal Department Presentation–Click here.

August 17: Human Resources and Compensation/Benefits Presentation–Click here.

August 17: Full Budget Presentation Meeting–Click here.

August 17: All August 17 Budget Slides–Click here.






Recover Forward Phase 3 Logo


2022 Proposed Budget

2022 Proposed Budget

2022 Written Budget Advance Questions/Comments from City Council

2022 Proposed Org Charts



2022 Presentations to City Council


Monday, August 23, 2021, at 6 p.m.

Human Resources, Legal/Risk Dept., ITS Dept.,

City Council Office, Office of the Controller, and Office of the Mayor

Click here for Monday's presentations.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at 6 p.m.

Fire Department, Police Department, Bloomington Transit , and Utilities

Click here for Tuesday's presentations.


Wednesday, August 25, 202, at 6 p.m.

Bloomington Housing Authority, City Clerk's Office, HAND, Economic and Sustainability Development, Community and Family Resources, and Parks and Recreation

Click here for Wednesday's presentations.


Thursday, August 26, 2021, at 6 p.m.

Engineering, Planning and Transportation, and Public Works (Admin, Animal Control, Facilities, Fleet, Parking, Sanitation, and Street)

Click here for Thursday's presentations.



Click here for video of all the 2022 Budget presentations.






Additional Resources


Speeches & Remarks

September 9, 2020: Mayor Hamilton Remarks to City Council about Proposed ED-LIT–Click here.

August 17, 2020: FY2021 Budget Overview–Click here.

July 27, 2020: Mayor Hamilton Speaks to Press Club about Recover Forward–Click here.

July 16, 2020: Mayor Hamilton Recover Forward Public Address–Click here.


Panel Discussions

August 12, 2020: Toward Sustainable Quality of Life Panel Discussion on Facebook Live–Click here.

August 5, 2020: Economic Justice Panel Discussion on Facebook Live–Click here.

July 30, 2020: Racial Justice Panel Discussion on Facebook Live–Click here.


Supporting Documents

August 5, 2020: Digital Equity Study–Click here.

August 4, 2020: Housing Study–Click here.



Press Releases

October 25, 2021: City of Bloomington Awards 2021 Digital Equity Grant Funds to Nine Area Nonprofits–Click here.

October 4, 2021: Applications Sought for 2021 Recover Forward Grants for the Arts–Click here.

September 29, 2021: Mayor Formally Introduces 2022 Budget Ordinances with Adjustments to Increase Police Funding and Conduct Earlier Police Contract Negotiations; and Add Pilot Programs for City Employee Parking Cash Out and 24-Hour Public Restrooms–Click here.

August 9, 2021: City Supports Nonprofits’ Efforts to Bridge Digital Divide with Second Year of Digital Equity Grants–Click here.

July 19, 2021: City Offers Employability Skills Training and Support Through Recover Forward–Click here.

May 18, 2021: Recover Forward Funds Homeownership and Permanent Affordability Through Shared Appreciation Program–Click here.

November 16, 2020: City of Bloomington Awards 2020 Digital Equity Grant Funds–Click here.

November 19, 2020: Recover Forward Grants for the Arts Announced, Additional Applications Sought for 2021 Awards –Click here.

November 18, 2020: Recover Forward Projects Update–Click here.

November 13, 2020: Applications Sought for Digital Equity Grants–Click here.

September 15, 2020: The Mill Code School Currently Seeking Applications for Free Digital Skills Training–Click here.

September 4, 2020: City Council to Consider Local Income Tax Increase–Click here.

September 3, 2020: Applications Sought for Recover Forward Arts Grants–Click here.

August 5, 2020: Proposed Recover Forward Stimulus Plan–Click here.

August 25, 2020: City Funds "Recover Forward" Projects–Click here.

July 15, 2020: Mayor Hamilton to Propose Recovering Forward–Click here.