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Normal Town Council: $5 million Town Firehouse Approved, Reece approved to serve for additional term

Written by on September 7, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. – The Normal Town Council held their first town meeting of the month on September 5.

Tuesday’s town council meeting, postponed by the Labor Day holiday, led to the unanimous approval of plans to construct a new fire station within the town of Normal with a price tag of around $4.75 million.

Normal will redistribute its firefighting staff and resources between firehouses rather than spending funds to increase its capacity. Once the new firehouse is ready for use, the city will decommission the existing firehouse located at College Avenue and Blair Drive. The new station is set to be built at Shepard and Hershey roads.

Following the approval of the firehouse, the council stated it will formally notify the residents of the nearby Blackstone Trails subdivision. They plan to schedule an open house council session in the future to gain input from residents on their needs and concerns related to the new station. While no clear dates or deadlines were given for breaking ground, the council estimates that it will take around a year and a half to complete the station.

City Manager Pamela Reece succeeded in having a contract extension for her position approved at the council meeting in a 6-1 vote. Council Member Kathleen Lorenz voted no on the matter, prefacing to the city chambers that prior to the vote Lorenz discussed her disapproval with Reece regarding the contract. Neither her nor Reece elaborated further. Reece’s contract is set to remain until March of 2026.

The city proceeded in appointing two members to the sister cities committee for the Japanese city of Asahikawa, including a current student at Illinois State University. The council appointed retired teacher Eric Sweetwood and Noah Davidson, a student at ISU who has previously traveled to Japan as part of a high school exchange program.

In other business, the council:
• Approved a $1.1 million contract with Hoerr Construction for work related to repairing sewer linings.
• Authorized the purchase of snow plow equipment and installation for two Ford F-550 trucks.
• Awarded a $72,500 contract to Chizmar Landscaping to construct and install a bird viewing water feature on constitution trail. A member of a local ornithology group spoke at the meeting thanking the council for the approval of the project, along with the importance of avian wildlife for the local ecosystem.

The town’s next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on September 18, 2023.