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Bernhardson said he is proud that single-family homes have been protected even as the city encourages denser housing. He said communications with residents have improved with the resurrection of the city newsletter, and that has helped people understand what services they’re getting for their taxes. The city’s finances have strengthened, and ratings with all three bond rating agencies are AAA — as high as they can go.
He said challenges remain for the city, including what to do about small commercial centers that are struggling and single-family homes that may be functionally obsolete because of difficult locations.
“There will be lots of opportunities 20, 30 and 40 years from now where older industrial areas will redevelop,” he said.
With his kids grown and gone — a son is in medical residency and a daughter is heading toward the foreign service — Bernhardson said he isn’t sure how he will use his retirement. He has six more months to puzzle that out, but said he’s been told by others he probably won’t figure it out until he’s left work behind.
He plans to split his time between a home in San Diego and — no surprise — Bloomington.
“I’ve loved it here,” he said. “What’s not to like in Bloomington?”
Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380