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Normal Town Council – approval for $1.7 million road improvements, plans for Uptown development

Written by on February 21, 2023

NORMAL, Ill.- The Normal Town Council held their second town meeting of the month on Feb. 20.

Monday’s meeting was preceded by a presentation to the council about a master plan regarding a possible development of land south of the train station and city hall uptown. The slideshow given by Farr Associates displayed how the site would allow for the development of multilevel apartment complexes and storefronts on the eight acre plot of land directly south of Uptown Normal adjacent to Linden Street.

Over 300 residential units would be built with additional improvements to surrounding roads, public amenities and greenspace with construction slated to begin in the summer over two separate building phases. The City of Normal has agreed to invest $1.7 million into the project, with the remaining $25.3 million coming from federal and state funding.

This doesn’t mark the first time Farr Associates has been present within the council’s chambers, as they met with the public on previous occasions to receive input and comments from the council and the public on the development, and the various requirements it would need to serve the community.

Council Member Stan Nord began comments on the development regarding the choice for the units and storefront within the development to be run solely on electricity as opposed to having the option of natural gas, citing how this could limit specific tenets from selecting this prospective property.

Doug Farr of the namesake firm responded on how this is the major complaint the development and ones similar receive, and though the lack of natural gas may limit certain restaurants from occupying the ground level units, the use of electric would lead to benefits in terms of insurance and environmental concerns.

The council also approved of a $1.7 million road improvement project which would include improvements to Kerrick Road along with additional traffic signals at the intersection of Kerrick and Main Street. The repairs arrive due to the increase in traffic from a warehouse utilized by Rivian Automotive.

Funding for the project will be supported by the properties unique classing as a tax increment financing district, which diverts additional property tax revenue from increased property values to fund infrastructure improvements and developments.

Funding on the project is also supported by a $600,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for use only on the project. City Manager Pam Reece gave thanks as to how the grant was possible due to former state Rep. Dan Brady proposal of it for the state’s budget.

Additional approvals were given for a $87,000 purchase for computer equipment from Dell to update current equipment used by the city, and a two year contract with Gulliford Services Inc. and Illinois Portable Toilets Inc. to provide portable toilets for $49,000.

The town’s next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on March 6, 2023.