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Marcfirst aid to buy land for Bridge Academy goes before Normal Council

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Staff
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WGLT

The Normal Town Council will consider giving $500,000 to Marcfirst to buy land for the Central Illinois Bridge Academy when the council meets on Monday. The money would come from federal pandemic relief aid via the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and allow Marcfirst to partner with the Regional Office of Education and potentially other organizations.

The land is vacant commercial space on Jacobssen Drive that would be converted, in part, to classroom space. It adjoins Shepard Park. Town staff said in briefing papers for the council that access to green space is a positive for those in the academy.

The Bridge Academy school operated by the Regional Office of Education would serve about 40 teenagers and open this fall. Students would come from McLean, Livingston, Logan or DeWitt counties. Those who have recently been hospitalized due to mental health issues or homebound will be the primary target of the specialty school. Staff said one of the goals in using ARPA dollars articulated by the council is to enhance behavioral health services and improve youth and family collaborative support.

Roads

The council is also set to approve bids for $2.284 million in street improvements using both general funding and motor fuel tax money. The bids submitted by Rowe Construction are for work on:

  • N. Parkside Road (College Avenue to Braden Drive and to Gregory Street)
  • Aurora Way (Orlando Avenue to Miles Lane)
  • Warren Avenue (Aurora Way to School Street)
  • S. Blair Drive (Vernon Avenue to College Avenue)
  • Hammitt Drive
  • Keller Road
  • Industrial Park Drive
  • Prospect Avenue (South of Highland Avenue to Highland Avenue)
  • W. Virginia Avenue (Franklin to Broadway)
  • E. Virginia Avenue (Constitution Trail IL Central Branch to Linden Street)
  • S. Fell Avenue (Virginia Avenue to Vernon Avenue)

The street segments are the same as those the council considered in February.

Water

Town staff has also recommended approval of $992,000 to drill a new water well, build and equip a pump house, and cap and tear down an old well and building.

The cost is more than the $700,000 budgeted for the project, but staff said the increase and a budget change depend on how productive the well will be. The town drilled a test well which determined the potential capacity is up to 2,000 gallons a minute. That would become the most productive of several wells the town has in service. Most wells in the town produce 300-500 gallons per minute and a larger pump to accommodate greater flow costs about five times the standard pump size of 400 gallons per minute, said staff. The existing well to be decommissioned pumps about 100 gallons per minute in spite of reconditioning efforts in 2020.

The firms Layne and Stark Excavating are the low bidders on the project that would begin in August. The proposal includes bonuses for early completion, but staff said some suppliers have a lead time of up to one year for some of the electrical components.

Annexation

The council will also consider annexing and rezoning more than 10 acres at the southwest corner of West College and I-55. Travis Yordy intends to develop the land as mini-storage. It's currently zoned agricultural and would need to be reclassified for general business. The town's Comprehensive Plan classifies the property as highly suitable for development and annexation because it's close to existing infrastructure and services.

Expansion

Consideration of a final plat for the third addition to the Blackstone Trails Subdivision at Hershey and Shepard Roads would allow that subdivision to continue build 12 more single-family residences. Staff ask council members to approve the plat for 3.36 acres on the east side of the subdivision, where it will connect to the Eagle’s Landing Subdivision at Three Eagles Street. There is also one outlot for a utility and drainage easement and pedestrian access to connect Granite Way to a planned cul de sac to the west.

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