Normal seeks public feedback on future environmental priorities
Town of Normal staff say a survey now circulating online is for gathering feedback that will inform the development of new long-term plans for the municipality.
Since 1990, town staffers have created reports every five years aimed at informing future decision-making based partly on what community members say they want to see prioritized. The process is guided by a steering committee comprised of staff, community members, students and others.
This year's Vision2050/Sustainability Plan is a dual effort at both developing a vision for the town's next 25 years as well as updating an environmental sustainability plan developed in 2010. On its website, the town describes the plan as creating "a roadmap that reimagines the Town as a beacon of sustainability by mid-century."
Among the opportunities for the public to provide feedback on making that transition is an online survey offered via Zencity, a technology platform that works with local governments. The survey will be live throughout the duration of February and ads for it may appear on social media sites.
Town planner Mercy Davison said in a news release the municipality chose not to share the link directly because of "potential bias," so the links to the survey are delivered via the third party.
The survey focuses on identifying prime concerns related to the environment and sustainability that have been town priorities for years. The survey asks participants to rank 12 different priorities in order of importance. It also offers spaces for written feedback on sustainability efforts.
The survey is just one opportunity for public feedback on the forthcoming plan.
A timeline indicates a public meeting will be held sometime in April. That's the same month town staff plans to gather feedback from school-aged children, a fixture in previous plan development in 2021.
A draft of the 2050 Vision/Sustainability Plan is set to be released in May. The public will again be offered an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft.
A final draft will be presented to the Normal Town Council in September.
The town is working alongside consulting firm Hile Group to complete the plan. Hile Group was the only company that responded to a town request-for-proposals seeking this kind of service. An $87,000 agreement to work with the Normal-based firm was approved by council members in September 2023.