Town of Normal | WGLT

Town of Normal

Normal To Vote On Enterprise Zone, Water Rate Hike

Mar 20, 2016
Destihl

The Normal Town Council will consider making some changes to an Enterprise Zone northeast of Normal tonight. Destihl is planning to build a 47,000 square foot brewery at the location and wants to take advantage of the benefits before the zone expires in May.

Town of Normal

The Town of Normal is hiring two consultants to help secure federal TIGER funding for a probable underpass beneath the tracks near Uptown Station. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Chris Koos told Mike McCurdy the Town's eventual application is not in competition with a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant application from the City of Bloomington to fund the Hamilton Road extension project.

Ralph Weisheit

The Town of Normal is hiring two consultants to help with the application process for federal grant funding for a railway pedestrian underpass at Uptown Station.

The Town will spend nearly $100,000 on the consultants.

WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff will work on the 2016 grant application for a feasibility study for an underpass at Uptown Station.  CHG & Associates will provide a year of lobbying services.

Normal plans to build a temporary at grade rail crossing, with a planned underpass to come later.

City of Bloomington

A new, balanced budget recently presented to the Bloomington City Council includes addressing a long list of deferred infrastructure and maintenance needs. When Assistant City Manager Steve Rasmussen started with the city in 2014 he quickly became familiar with the budget and the lack of money to address those needs, including road resurfacing and sewer replacement.

Staff

A police chase in Normal ended when the man being chased died after apparently shooting himself.

The incident began as an apparent hostage situation when Normal police were called to a residence on Normal Avenue by a woman claiming the man was holding her against her will. When he fled in a vehicle, police chased him until the gunshot rang out inside the vehicle as it stopped on Towanda Avenue near Rowe Drive in Bloomington.

Michael Hill / WGLT

The Normal Public Library is working with OPN Architects to look at possible designs for a new public library to the south of Uptown Normal. The proposed project area came from Farr Associates as part of the Uptown 2.0 Master Plan, but no plans have been set in stone to build a library at that location

Staff / WGLT

The College Avenue Kroger Grocery Store is preparing to move to Bloomington. The new location targeted is still on College, but on the east side of Veterans Parkway, opposite Meijer. The Bloomington City Council is considering economic incentives at their Monday meeting to facilitate the deal.

Brad Basham Photography / bbasham.com and Town of Normal

Filling the hole in the ground in Uptown Normal may not be the only upcoming project for that district. During Mayor Chris Koos' regular Sound Ideas interview he told GLT's Mike McCurdy that developers are showing "active" interest in plots other than the property adjacent to the recently completed Hyatt Place Hotel.

Staff / WGLT

Crime in Normal rose about 4% last year but the overall five year average is down about four percent. In this conversation with Charlie Schlenker, Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner says the trend line is not surprising and the useful part of the numbers comes on a shorter term review.

pixabay.com

The City of Bloomington is not the only area town looking at a body camera pilot program. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Chris Koos says the town of Normal will also do one. "It wouldn't surprise me if we do it cooperatively with the city of Bloomington, so we all have the same equipment," Koos said.

National Mayors' Association Focuses On Transportation

Jan 21, 2016
Ralph Weisheit

The nation's Mayors are getting a look at the new transportation bill and what's in it for them. WGLT's Hanna Gutmann reports from the national meeting in Washington that Normal Mayor Chris Koos says the biggest problem is the new bill still has an old funding mechanism and priorities.

BLDD Architects

Construction on a new Town of Normal fire station headquarters could begin in June and the project will cost nearly a million dollars more than originally projected. During a regular Sound Ideas appearance, Town Mayor Chris Koos explains to WGLT's Mike McCurdy the cost was creeping even higher.

BLDD Architects

The Town of Normal is moving forward with its plans to build a new fire department headquarters along North Main Street. Town Council members voted in support of an additional $384 thousand to take the next step in the process as part of a total project cost of around $7.9 million.

Farr Associates/Town of Normal

The Town of Normal will likely pass on federal funding in hand to build a railroad track overpass at Uptown Station. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas Mayor Chris Koos says talks with the state and Union Pacific Railroad indicate an pass project is now likely. The project to allow pedestrian crossing of high speed rail tracks would take three to five years. This could leave the town holding the bag for the multi-million dollar cost, but Koos says he hopes not. 

Cardosi Kiper Design Group

The Town of Normal Council approved tax rebates for a developer working to revitalize a north Normal hotel. Mayor Chris Koos joined WGLT's Mike McCurdy to talk about the hotel, the Community Investment Plan, and Uptown Normal signage.

Michael Hill / WGLT

The Normal Town Council is giving the green light to a six year community investment plan. The proposal includes 119 capital projects that add up to $56 million, but those projects do not include a soccer complex or indoor recreation center.

The State of Illinois owes Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County governments more than 5.4 million dollars according to public officials.

The measure approved by the Illinois House and up in the Senate next week would improve some of that cash flow crunch. The largest single chunk of cash owed local governments is Motor Fuel Tax Receipts. County Administrator Bill Wasson says release of that money would ease the process of going out to bid for road projects next spring.

Normal Approves 'Uptown 2.0'

Nov 17, 2015
Brad Basham Photography / bbasham.com and Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council is moving forward with Uptown 2.0. Council members approved the master plan update presented last September. 

McLean County is trying again for an enterprise zone renewal. Last year's attempt did not gain approval from the Governor. On Monday, the Normal Town Council will take up the revised request. The existing enterprise zone formed back in 1982 to bring the Mitsubishi plant to Normal expires next June. All other units of government in the proposed zone must also sign off on the application.

The new plan includes local property tax abatements for prospective new businesses that create 50 jobs within the zone and involve more than $5 million in private investment.

Brad Basham Photography/www.bbasham.com

The Town of Normal is continuing to pursue an underpass under railroad tracks that bisect the Uptown area. In this excerpt of a Sound Ideas interview, Mayor Chris Koos told WGLT's Mike McCurdy that state and federal dollars remain in place to help pay for the project and federal officials have communicated that the project could be ideal for a future Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application.

Municipal Residency Requirements Not A Priority

Oct 19, 2015
Ivo Shandor / Wikimedia Commons

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner says he can see why Springfield's mayor is saying he wants people who get a city check to live in the city. Nearly a third of capitol city employees don't.

Jim Browne / WGLT

The state of McLean County is not as good as it has been, but by working together area governments can get things back on track.  That common theme was presented by all four speakers at the annual Chamber of Commerce event.

Brad Basham Photography/www.bbasham.com

Quiet unsexy policy priorities can shape a city. In GLT's final interview focusing on the Normal 1-5-0 celebration, we unravel some of the choices made in recent decades that are shaping the town's present and future. Charlie Schlenker talks with the town's Public Works Director Wayne Aldrich who says the 1-2% annual population growth the town experienced posed challenges and presented opportunities.

Staff / WGLT

The town of Normal could generate more than $6 million in additional revenue once the 1% sales tax increase goes into effect next year. A quarter of that is earmarked to community-wide mental health improvements. The remainder is up for grabs.

Normal Mulling Over Sales Tax Priorities

Oct 6, 2015
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Normal Town Council will take more time to decide how to spend additional revenues coming from a sales tax increase passed last month. They're discussing funding for Connect Transit, economic development, and infrastructure; but using sales tax dollars for a sports complex is no longer under consideration. 

Council Member Kathleen Lorenz said Normal could also decide to use the increase toward programs and services that would normally receive money from the General Fund.

There was an unprecedented sustained level of growth in the Town of Normal between 1967 and 1993. As part of the Normal 1-5-0 celebration, GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with two of the leaders who oversaw that era, retired City Manager Dave Anderson and former Mayor Paul Harmon about the several causes of that boom.

The panel discussion about the boom years of Normal will be Sunday afternoon at Uptown Station (2p)
 

As the Normal Sesquicentennial celebration kicks off, GLT begins a series of interviews with the people who are offering lectures as part of Normal 150 events. Today, the topic is the early years of Normal. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with retired ISU Historian Paul Holsinger and asks why Normal was a good place for settlement in the first place. Holsinger says the answer was not obvious.

John Alltop / Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home was a fixture in Normal for 110 years. As the community celebrates its 150th anniversary, Ruthie Cobb chats with Charlie Schlenker about the orphanage. She's says the home had a singular statewide impact as well as a local one.

GLT aired Charlie's feature on a book put out by the ISSCS Historical Society in 2007.

 

Esther Bubley / Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

As the Town of Normal observes its sesquicentennial, there are things in its history that should be recognized but not celebrated. In our continuing series of "Normal 150" interviews, GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with a retired ISU historian about racial segregation. Mark Wyman says the division of whites and blacks in Normal was similar to other cities in Illinois.

 

The head of the effort to rescue use of the Mitsubishi Plant says there have been some nibbles on a buyer. Kyle Ham heads both the Economic Development Council for Bloomington Normal and the Mitsubishi Task Force.

"I am personally aware of automakers that are looking at the facility and have begun to do the due diligence process."

Ham says the plant has not been on the market that long and possible buyers have a lot of work to do.

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