Big Spending Environmentalists running Normal

by Diane Benjamin

First Fact:  The whole Global Warming, Global Cooling, Climate change propaganda that is bankrupting the entire globe is being slowly debunked by actual science – see prior post:   If you really do believe in global warming, how many billions or trillions of dollars are you willing to spend with no guarantee the strategy is working?  The earth was warmer during the Middle Ages, exactly what is the problem?  Report out this weekend:–chart-prove-it.html

The die hard believers are going to be slow to admit they were duped by a plan to redistribute wealth hatched at the United Nations.  If you want to see what the Town of Normal leadership is spending YOUR tax dollars on, continue reading.

Normal bought a house with 5.9 acres at 900 S Linden in November 2007 for $725,000 – the stated reason was to gain access to Underwood Park and Constitution Trail.

The backyard has an in-ground swimming pool.  Documents state the property was appraised for $750,000, but it was never on the market.  The Town negotiated directly with the owners when they heard the property might be for sale.  There is a break in the wood fence that does allow access to Underwood Park.

Front of 900 S. Linden
This side faces Underwood Park

If you aren’t familiar with Underwood Park, the main entrance is on Jersey Avenue just east of Linden.  The park is small-11.8 acres.  The entire perimeter can be walked in about 5 minutes.  It has a baseball field, tennis courts, and playground equipment.  Needing another entrance as a reason to spend $725,000 seems silly.  Constitution Trail runs north of the house along the deserted railroad tracks and bridge over Linden.

On November 1, 2007, City Manager Mark Peterson submitted a Town Council Action Report for the purchase of the property.  This report states the purpose of buying is to increase the size of the park by 50%.  The plan was to demolish all buildings on the property and reclaimed it as green space.

By November 13, 2008 the plans had changed.  Town Planner, Mercy Davidson, presented another Town Council Action Report.  The report does say the property was purchased as a tie between Constitution Trail and Underwood Park, but instead of demolishing the house, they want to offer it to The Ecology Action Center.  The EAC would use the property for expansion of education programs and workshops. The public would also have access. There is no explanation of why the original plans to enlarge the park were changed.  The report makes it sound like we have a house we aren’t using so . . . .

This is where it gets good, or bad, depending on whether it’s your tax dollars being used.

Quote from the report: As part of the relocation and necessary renovation of the house into a publicly accessible educational center, the Town Council saw the potential to turn the house and property into a model of sustainable residential design, featuring energy-saving and energy-generating technologies that could be applied on residential properties throughout central Illinois.

In other words, they want to retrofit the house to be carbon-neutral.  Go back to the beginning of this article.  How much are you willing to spend to achieve some goal that isn’t measurable and may not have any effect on global warming?  If you are government with a virtually unlimited amounts of money to spend, because it isn’t your money, A LOT.

The Action Report was a request for $46,000 so Farr Associates could do a feasibility study.   The goal was to create a plan so this house achieved the high ratings in the environment world, at least Gold, and maybe Platinum status.  The report further explains the total cost for Farr Associates would be $125,000, but grants would be available to offset the cost.  The total amount paid to Farr Associates to date is $91,491.27, there is no mention of why the expected grants of $75,000 and $7,500 didn’t offset the cost.

But the Town of Normal is just getting started.  To date all they have paid for is planning.  Quote from the report: The renovation of the Underwood House will include a strong focus on reducing energy use and generating energy onsite using solar and wind resources.  Because the purpose of the facility is to model green building and energy strategies the local builders and homeowners can put to use, available and affordable technologies will take priority in some areas of the project.  However, the commitment to showcasing simple, applicable green design and building strategies and technologies will not require the exclusion of more advanced techniques and systems.

Practically speaking  the facility will be the only demonstration site of its kind in central Illinois  allowing citizens, as well as design and construction professionals, to experience a high level green dwelling and to explore possibilities for their own building projects.

So how much is all this state of the art education and learning center going to cost the taxpayers of Normal?

Estimate as of 7/29/09

Substructure                                    $ 4,000

Superstructure                                  91,736

Exterior closure                               105,214

Interior Construction                        214,717

Conveyance                                      70,000

Mechanical                                       436,025

Electrical                                          279,756

Equipment                                          26,622

Sitework                                             33,455


Sub-Total                                           $ 1,261,525

Overhead and Profit                          151,383

Design Contingency                           141,291

Escalation                                            62,168


 Total                                             $ 1,616,367 

Remember, Chris Koos is the same guy who believes electric cars are the future.  (

Is it the job of government to engineer the future?  Are they good at finding successful technologies, or good at throwing money away (Solyndra etc)?  The private sector is much better at determining what technologies are affordable, efficient, and worth spending money on.

Are the citizens of Normal willing to usurp their freedom and their tax dollars so the Town of Normal can experiment with green technology?

Add it up:  $725,000 for the house, $91,491 to Farr Associates, $1,616,367 for construction = $2,432,858

A quote in the Farr Associates report sums it up:

The ultimate goal of the project is to leverage a discrete investment in Underwood House to effect long term wide scale shifts toward sustainable residential development in McLean County.  The process below is conceived to understand the thinking behind the Council’s initiatives and generate public awareness and support for the project.

Discrete investment?  Does that mean hide the cost?  The goal of this project is to force the use of green technology, not matter the cost!  How long before “sustainable” building is a requirement, not only in Normal, but in McLean County?

City elections are next April – if you want projects like this to continue, reelect the same gang.  Start retro-fitting your house now.  You would make the Normal City Council so happy, not to mention Mayor Koos.

If you believe your money is not for government to “play” with, vote for change!

3 thoughts on “Big Spending Environmentalists running Normal

    1. Someone has been living here because Normal has been picking up the electric bill. (sometimes @ $150/month)

      search google: Amerenip “900 S Linden” Town of Normal

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