Bloomington approves new housing lots amid need

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Both Bloomington and Normal are facing a crisis; people want to live and work there, but there are not enough places for people to move in.

As companies like Rivian, Ferrero and State Farm continue hiring in their twin cities locations, more people are moving to the area which is short on all types of housing. Both the city and town are hoping to move more construction plans forward to retain employees as residents.

Over the next 10 years, McLean County is projected to add more than 10,000 residents to its population, and most of that is thanks to the growth of major businesses.

"Rivian was supposed to be at 500 jobs, I think they’re at over 6,500 now which has lured more people into the community and is increasing demand," said CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, Patrick Hoban.

Hoban and his team compiled a housing study earlier this year. The results showed a major need of all housing types.

"The housing study itself showed we needed 4,300 homes; that was based off of data from 2020 when I believe Rivian was around 300 employees so we definitely need more," Hoban said.

At Monday night’s city council meeting, leaders approved two plats of construction which will add over 100 single-family housing lots to the mix.

Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe said it’s important to have a diverse set of housing options for potential residents.

"To just kind of cater to the needs of the different individuals that are coming to Bloomington," Mwilambwe said.

Both Normal and Bloomington looking to add units attractive to Rivian employees that are stereotypically in the younger demographic.

"They’re looking more for an apartment or a duplex where they wouldn’t have to do as much work," Mwilambwe said.

Mwilambwe said the council also hopes to bring in affordable housing as well.

"That’s another area that I would say in the past two years about 150 units," Mwilambwe said.

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October 12, 2022 at 10:58PM

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