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Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton speaks August 10th at a press conference in front of the Monroe County Public Library. Hamilton announced several changes related to downtown, including increased enforcement of panhandling laws and the placement of surveillance cameras in city parks.

Top Stories of 2016: What’s Wrong With Downtown Bloomington?

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Today is number 1 on our countdown of the Top Stories of 2016. In this episode, we take a look back at the many ways Bloomington officials and residents have talked about – and acted on – issues in the downtown area during the past twelve months.

Depending on who’s talking, there can be a long list of complaints about downtown Bloomington: alcohol, drugs, aggressive behavior, panhandling, and insufficient resources to deal with problems like homelessness and addiction. Those were all concerns identified recently by a committee formed by Mayor John Hamilton.

Some residents say they feel unsafe downtown and some business owners have complained that the situation is hurting their bottom lines.

Of course, not all residents feel that way and those that do direct their concerns at various populations. Over the past few years, WFHB reporters have spoken with people downtown who were worried about drunk bar patrons and rowdy college students. Some have also had problems with people who panhandle on the sidewalk. Others have problems with police officers who patrol downtown. And of course others get frustrated with the traffic and the occasional bad driver.

This is a case where, not only is there trouble deciding what to do about the problems downtown, there is widespread disagreement about what the problems actually are. In this episode, we look back at how local residents have participated in this long-standing debate during the past twelve months.

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