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Two Bloomington-Normal sites win Megasite development grants from the state

An aerial map view showing Central Illinois Regional Airport
Google Earth
The Megasites grant will go toward developing 250 acres of Central Illinois Regional Airport property south of the airport across from Ireland Grove Road, adjacent to the Norfolk Southern rail line.

Two Bloomington-Normal projects will receive a combined $2.6 million in grants as part of the state’s new Megasites Investment Program, officials said Thursday.

One of the grants, worth $1.3 million, will go toward development of a new “industrial, manufacturing and distribution site offering multimodal capabilities” just south of Central Illinois Regional Airport, across from Ireland Grove Road, adjacent to the Norfolk Southern rail line.

The grant will go toward water and sewer infrastructure at the site, which airport officials say is necessary to “create shovel-ready investment property.”

“We are very excited for this opportunity to partner with (the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) to supercharge the competitive position of our site for the benefit of Illinois and our community,” Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority Chair Alan Sender said in a statement. “The funds from this grant will assist in developing the region’s only multimodal industrial site capable of supporting air cargo, rail freight, and interstate truck activity.”

The airport says the site, which “cannot directly support aviation activities, was acquired in accordance with FAA policy because of its proximity to the airfield to ensure the land was only used in a manner considered compatible for safe aviation activities.”

Meanwhile, a separate $1.4 million Megasites grant is going to support water and roadway improvements for a 279-acre Interchange City West development site in northwest Normal. WGLT is still working to gather details about the specifics of that project.

Megasites are large, developed sites ready for occupancy for manufacturers, distribution centers, industrial centers, and more.

The grants are funded by the Rebuild Illinois capital funding program. Nine projects were funded, totaling $23 million in grants.

This story will be updated.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.