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Normal Town Council approves plans to expand 3 subdivisions, adding nearly 70 new homes

Druv Ravinuthala, a Chiddix Junior High School student, addresses the Normal Town Council during its meeting Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, at city hall.
Michele Steinbacher
Druv Ravinuthala, a Chiddix Junior High School student, addresses the Normal Town Council during its meeting on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, at Uptown Station.

The Normal Town Council on Monday approved plans to expand three of the town’s subdivisions, paving the way for construction of nearly 70 new homes.

“Developers are ready to move forward,” said City Manager Pam Reece.

The council unanimously OK’d several items to accommodate growth at The Vineyards, on Raab and Airport roads; The Trails on Sunset Lake, at Fort Jesse and Airport roads; and Greystone Fields, on Parkside Road, near Normal Community West High School.

Also at Monday night's meeting, the town OK’d setting aside $1 million for street resurfacing, and heard from youth residents sharing their 25-year outlook for Normal.

Of the housing construction planned, council member Karyn Smith said the main reason was clear: Rivian workforce growth.

“We are having some welcome economic development that is increasing the demand for housing,” she said, noting developers had reported Rivian employees wanting more single-home new construction options.

Some of these newer subdivisions had been stagnant, slowed first by the 2008 housing crisis, and later by a 2014 State Farm decision to slow hiring in the Twin Cities.

Mayor Chris Koos noted the dozens of new constructions now planned are much needed, adding he'd been told by a local real estate agent that as of Feb. 20 only 20 homes were on sale in Normal.

2045 Vision Plan, youth-led

The town’s vision plan, issued every five years since 1990, looks 25 years into the town’s future.

For Vision Plan 2045, town leaders decided to take a different approach — seeking youth feedback, said town planner Mercy Davison. She said the decision was made, in part, because the pandemic hampered the town's traditional approach to its Vision Plan process.

Vision 2045 included participants, ranging in age from 3 to 15. The survey pool came from three Normal-sponsored summer programs — a Children's Discovery Museum camp, a Normal Parks and Recreation camp, and the Normal Public Library's reading program: Each child helped design artwork showing what they imagined for Normal in 2045.

At Monday’s meeting, three participants shared their thoughts with the council.

Siblings Connor Roehm and Avery Roehm, 8 and 10 respectively, who attend Benjamin Elementary School, made illustrations as part of their time in a CDM camp.

“In the year 2045, I would like all the homeless people to have a home and to have warmth, food and have a place to sleep before we get into all the electronics and technology, ” said Connor Roehm.

His sister described the joyful scene she'd depicted in her artwork — with lots of colorful houses, and people "smiling from ear-to-ear."

Chiddix Junior High School student Druv Ravinuthala, 12, who was part of Vision 2045 through Normal Parks and Recreation Department’s teen adventure camp, also spoke.

He said he’d like a future Normal with more wheelchair-accessible playgrounds, sports equipment loans, and more environmentally friendly buildings, among other things. He also said he wants people to see more Monarch butterfly gardens, to help boost that population.

“It’s pretty crazy to think about, but I’ll actually be 37 in 25 years. And, I hope some of these changes are actually made by then,” said the seventh grader.

$1 million on street resurfacing

The council also voted to appropriate $1 million of its motor fuel tax funds for the Fiscal 2022-23 MFT Street Resurfacing Project. Next, the town will request bid proposals, with awards expected this spring.

In other business, the council: 

  • Changed rules, based on Normal Planning Commission recommendations, for outdoor dining spaces, as well as use of parking pads off driveways in Normal.
  • Awarded an estimated $115,000 bid to Bloomington-based Water Products Co. to handle water main and service line materials for the town.
  • OK'd a 5-year agreement with Illinois State University to share certain parking spaces, mainly allowing town to offer summer parking spaces in an ISU lot near Fairview Family Aquatic Center. 
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Michele Steinbacher is a WGLT correspondent. She joined the staff in 2020.
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