September 10, 2003
Last Saturday’s 30-year anniversary celebration of CFC, Inc., was a reminder of how far downtown Bloomington has come in the last three decades and the dynamics that pushed the revitalization.
It was a matter of vision and commitment.
CFC and its early leaders had a lot to do with it. Bill Cook, Steve Ferguson, Phil Hathaway, Miles Kanne and Dan Sterner made up the original board when the company was founded as Cook Financial Corp. The original intent was to make loans to employees of Cook, Inc. The company has evolved under Jim Murphy and Bob Doty into a property development and management company that emphasizes architecturally significant structures. As such it has been a catalyst for development of Bloomington’s downtown.
CFC has committed time, energy, creativity, expertise and financial resources to the vision that the downtown must be the heart of the community; it is what visitors see and on what they often base their perception of Bloomington.
Other private developers have embraced the vision. So have governmental agencies. But CFC has been the unquestioned leader. Among the downtown projects it has done on its own or been a part of include:
Graham Plaza; Allen Court; the Illinois Central Railroad Freight Depot; the Johnson Hardware Building; the Madison Park condominiums; the Curry Building; Monroe County Courthouse (specifically, restoration of historic murals); Uptown Plaza; the Bloomington Antique Mall; Fountain Square Mall; Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center; The Little Peddler Bed and Breakfast; the CFC operations center on North Rogers; Grant Street Inn; West Second Street commercial park; Wicks Building; Bicycle Apartments; One City Centre; Showers Plaza; the Beasley building; Lincoln Place condominiums; Monroe County Historical Society Museum; Max Fulk Wholesale building; John R. East House; 414 W. Sixth St. house; 420 W. Sixth St. house; the Faris Building; and currently The Kirkwood, luxury apartments being built on the Mace Grocery Store property.
In all these cases, CFC has seized on individual opportunities to further the vision of downtown as the heart of our community. Each of the projects is a unique testament to the commitment to Bloomington the company has shown over the last 20-plus years.
The company’s leadership has sparked other crucial decisions by private developers and government to invest in the downtown. Expansion of the Monroe County Public Library downtown instead of moving it to another location is one prime example. Also notable is that only one of four major projects going on downtown at this time is a CFC project; other companies have joined the effort.
CFC’s vision and commitment have kept Bloomington’s heart beating strongly. That’s something worth celebrating.