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WGLT, an NPR station in central Illinois, is following every move at the Rivian manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The electric vehicle startup has gone from stealth mode to big-time player in the auto world, attracting attention (and big money) from companies like Ford and Amazon.

A Split Normal Council Vote For Rivian Motorway Name Change

screen with council agenda item.
Charlie Schlenker
Several governmental units will have to sign off on a name change from Mitsubishi Motorway to Rivian Motorway.

The Normal Town Council voted Monday to rename Mitsubishi Motorway for Rivian, which now owns the plant along that west-side road. It was a 4-2 vote.

Council member Stan Nord said he is concerned about how electronic databases will adjust.

"I just think it's a bad idea for us to name major roads after businesses or anything temporary. There is no way to predict how long they will exist in any location," said Nord.

Other council members note many U.S. road names change or are created every year.

Nord and council member Karyn Smith also asked whether the town had consulted other business owners along Mitsubishi Motorway. The packet prepared for council members before the meeting detailed some staff efforts to do so. At the meeting, staff said certified mail was sent to all 12 businesses on Mitsubishi Motorway. Only two attended a special meeting to discuss the name change and staff said they raised no objection.

It took the council more than a half-hour of discussion to approve changing the name.

"I think it's a little insane that we're sitting here, excuse me for saying that, to talk about a street," said council member Chemberly Cummings.

Rivian had asked for the change to help efforts to market the company and attract investors.

The council also approved changing the name of a plant access road from Sakura Lane to Electric Avenue to mark the type of product Rivian will produce: electric vehicles.

The City of Bloomington, McLean County, and the Emergency Telephone System Board will also have to approve the changes.

Editor's note: This story has been updated the reflect the vote was 4-2, not 7-2.


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