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Mwilambwe to appoint local business owner to fill Ward 6 vacancy

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BLOOMINGTON — Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe plans to nominate a Bloomington business owner to an empty seat on the council, his first appointment to the nine-member board since being elected last spring. 

"After much consideration, conversation and consultation, I have asked De Urban if she will fill the seat," Mwilambwe said in a statement on Friday. "As a local business owner and community member, De will be an advocate and voice for Ward 6."

Urban serves on the board of directors of the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, which hosts several programs throughout the community aimed at economic development, housing, youth and educational efforts. She is an owner of Alley Kats Art and Antiques in Bloomington. Urban also serves on the city Cannabis Task Force.

Messages left with Mwilambwe and Urban Friday night were not immediately returned. 

The position has been empty since Ald. Jenn Carrillo stepped down Aug. 30, touching off a process that has become divisive at times. Carrillo had served two years of a four-year term, but resigned after being unable to find new housing with ward boundaries.

City officials in August said at least 10 residents would be interviewed for the position, including Urban. Residents had until Aug. 13 to submit applications. 

In June, The Pantagraph dug into the history behind some of the Twin Cities’ most unusual street names. But in a community with history dating back nearly 200 years, there’s plenty of ground left to cover when it comes to the naming of city streets.

Several residents during a council meeting this month criticized Mwilambwe about the selection process. There was also speculation he was considering former council member Karen Schmidt, who represented the ward for 20 years but lost in 2019 to Carrillo. 

Under city code, the vacancy must be filled by Oct. 30, or 60 days after Carrillo's last day. The seat represents portions of downtown and west Bloomington.  

Mwilambwe was elected in April after serving on the council since 2011. 

The council is expected to consider the nomination during its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in room 402 of the Government Center, 115 E. Washington St., Bloomington.

Contact Sierra Henry at 309-820-3234. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_sierrahenry.


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