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Normal council to consider pickleball courts, denser housing for Wintergreen

The Normal Town Council will consider spending close to $561,000 to improve tennis and pickleball courts at Anderson and Underwood parks when it meets Monday evening.

Anderson Park’s three tennis courts would get new asphalt bases and surfaces, net posts, nets, and fencing. Underwood Park’s two tennis courts would be converted to six pickleball courts, also with a new base layer, court surface, and court accoutrements. Both parks had courts built in the 1970s. Town staff said none of those courts have been resurfaced in two decades with the infrastructure spending taking into account the growing popularity of pickleball.

The town did not receive sufficient bids on a less intensive crack repair and resurfacing project at Ironwood Park that already has two tennis and six pickleball courts. Those were last resurfaced in 2016. Staff said they will look for other solutions to fix the courts at Ironwood Park, noting the Anderson and Underwood projects took up nearly all the money budgeted for all three projects.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Uptown Station.

Wintergreen Subdivision

Council members also will take up a controversial proposal to change the type of proposed housing on more than four acres at the north end of the Wintergreen Subdivision near Interstate 55. The zoning and subdivision plan changes would allow construction of a few more units than contemplated when the subdivision was created in 2001. Some of these would be attached housing in a denser configuration than the original plans.

Residents of Wintergreen have protested before the planning commission. They worry about traffic safety, storm water issues for existing homes, a lack of communication from the developer, whether nearby Prairieland Elementary School would be able to accommodate increased numbers of children, and a potential adverse effect on property values.

The developer and town staff have noted Unit 5's plans include a fully built-out subdivision, which has not yet happened. The net increase in housing units from the original plan is four. Existing drainage plans are broadly unaffected by the change and the details are usually worked out by the town during development. Price points for the proposed homes would start at $319,000. The utility infrastructure the town installed was designed for a similar plan to the one proposed.

Town staff also have noted a lack of upscale compact housing in the area the proposal would partly address. And they said it’s common to have denser residential development adjacent to a more intense land use such as an interstate.

Raab Road replacement

Staff have asked council members to approve spending $313,260 for work on Raab Road, between Hershey Road and Northpointe Drive.

That section is closed right now because it is badly deteriorated, staff said. Rowe Construction is the low bidder on the project.

Underpass funding

The council also could sign off on an amended funding agreement with the U.S. Transportation Department for the Uptown underpass. The change would bring an extra $3.157 million in federal funds to the effort. Town staff have said the federal government is reallocating money not spent by other grantees during the pandemic to projects that are moving ahead.

The underpass funding plan approved last year before the new allotment included:

  • $13 million in federal BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant funds
  • $3 million in Illinois Department of Transportation pass-through money from the feds.
  • $6.250 million in other state money
  • $1.692 million from the Town of Normal

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.