By: Diane Benjamin
Proving yet again the plan must be followed in Normal, the Bush development was approved for yet another building in Uptown. It doesn’t matter the building across the street has a vacant ground floor and empty apartments upstairs. The agreement for the building doesn’t require the use of local labor. One speaker and the only supporter, Mike Matejka, pointed that out. Maybe he can picket the construction when local labor isn’t used.
Mike Kerber spoke about the destruction of historic buildings
Ron Ulmer listed all the empty spaces in Uptown – Bill’s Lock and Key, Mary Ann’s, Stout Chiropractic, 1 Uptown Circle
Marc Tiritilli stated if the project isn’t viable it isn’t the Town’s job to close the funding gap. After $250 million has been invested, Normal still can’t attract an investor they don’t have to subsidize.
Joel Studebaker is upset Normal is subsidizing yet another corporation that isn’t local. Profits will go to Chicago.
A few notes from the Council:
The entire TIF area was not expanded recently, just the part that hasn’t been developed yet. Even though they are giving away land, right now it is producing no revenue for the Town. Eventually it will – when they quit giving it away to the developer.
1:05 – Chris Koos was not happy with Public Comment! Historic preservation: They kept what they could, new buildings honor old ones. No property owners had any interest in historic preservation. Millions have been spent saving facades, Koos listed all the properties. 22 buildings received facade grants.
1:11:30 Fritzen claims they have an engaged citizenry (not many that vote!). There are no local developers doing the Bush type of development.
1:17:30 Fritzen is furious about claims Unit 5 was pressured to extend the TIF. Farnsworth will be consolidating employees and bringing more to Uptown.
I wonder how much they will be paying per square foot as compared to what Normal is paying in 1 Uptown Circle? We will never know.
1:31:20 Cummings – She doesn’t understand why Normal gets praised at places like the Illinois Municipal League but not by citizens. (Hint: The IML isn’t forced to pay for it Chemberly!) She thinks the Uptown plan is visionary!
1:41:30 McCarthy – Town is not expanding its debt. He claims office space is in demand in Uptown.
Question – why did Normal have to rent an entire floor to get 1 Uptown built if office space is in demand? Why will the new building have residential above office space if office space is needed? Residential isn’t all rented in 1 Uptown!
1:51 Lorenz – You are supposed to be excited about the future! She wants the local workers put to work. Obviously they won’t be used since they aren’t in the agreement. She claims the goal was always to promote living and working in Uptown.
1:58:40 Preston – The mural can’t be saved because of needed repairs to the building. (Preston wasn’t the only one to mention it)
City Manager Pamela Reece claims public art will somehow be part of the new construction.
Hit play to hear Public Comment, jump to the times noted to hear the Council. It’s obvious they made decisions on their vote before showing up.