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Perry Township Board discusses how to use vacated space

By Scott Tibbs, August 5, 2011

The Perry Township Board decided to open up space vacated by My Sister's Closet on Wednesday night to other community organizations that may be interested in the space instead of giving it to My Brother's Closet.

The Monroe County council and commissioners and the Bloomington City Council get much more attention, but township government generally does not get a great deal of attention by the local media. Since I live in Perry Township, I wanted to find out more about how my tax dollars are being spent. I actually ran for Bloomington Township Board in 2006 and was steamrolled by the Democrats, crushed by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

First, the meeting time could be improved. Holding a meeting at 5:15 makes it difficult for many average citizens to go to the meeting if they get off work at 5, especially if their workplace is on the east or west side of town. A 5:30 start time would be an improvement, and 6:00 would be better.

The first item on the agenda involved a decision on what to do with space being vacated by My Sister's Closet which provides free or low-cost clothing to poor women. They wanted to use the space for an expansion of their mission, a men's clothing mission called My Brother's Closet.

Board members Barb Sturbaum and Susie Hamilton wanted to give the space to My Brother's Closet, but trustee Dan Combs and board member Jack Davis wanted to open it up to others. Combs pointed out that the contract for the space was specifically for the sale or donation of women's clothing. It was decided that the township will take proposals from other charitable organizations in addition to My Brother's Closet in order to provide a wider opportunity for use of the space. Combs said two organizations had inquired about using space.

There will be a meeting on September 7 to make a decision about use of the space.

The township is also looking at options to renovate the space vacated by the Community Kitchen of Monroe County for use as a shelter. It has not yet been decided what organization will run the shelter or what the rules will be - for example, if it will have more strict rules or if it will be a "low barrier" shelter.

In other business, the board discussed what improvements can be made in the security cameras, since the building got "tagged" and the vandal was not caught by the security camera. The problem is that traffic from Walnut Street activates the motion sensor and the hard drive had filled up. The cameras may be upgraded in 2012.