By: Diane Benjamin
Normal held two meetings last night. The first one was a Work Session pertaining to the underpass.
Public Comment was first:
7:30 Sonja Reece explained why the underpass is essential. One item she noted was buses from Chicago bringing field trip kids from Chicago need a way to get the kids across the tracks to the Children’s Discovery Museum.
11:25 Tim Ryan thinks the union jobs the underpass will generate will be great for McLean County. He thinks the underpass will further lead to affordable housing south of the tracks. He thinks landlords need to market easy access to Uptown,
11:40 Ron Ulmer wants a task force of stake holders so information can be fairly evaluated. He mentioned the failure of the Town to allow drop-off and pickup of Amtrak passengers without driving through the parking garage. He wants errors like this avoided.
17:40 Patrick (?) – He supports the underpass because the current layout hurts his ability to bike. He also likes tax money returning to Normal.
19:52 Reagan (?) – Also supports the underpass for the same reason.
21:50 Ross Manual (sp?) – same support for the same reasons
24:40 John Weaver – Federal government is deep in debt. State is deep in debt. He wants cost-to-benefit analysis. He mentioned current taxes and the condition of the roads. He wants government to focus on the purpose of government instead an underpass. He mentioned the plan used to be an overpass. He doesn’t want his grandchildren’s future mortgaged for the underpass.
28:40 – Koos whispers to the clerk: We need to throw every one of these away.
28:45 Marc Tiritilli also wants cost-benefit analysis. No urgency right now. Union Pacific guidelines prefer an overpass. Cost for an underpass has increased $10,000,000 in just a few years. Marc claims the Town has to spend the $13 million first and then be reimbursed. He claimed the purpose is Uptown 2.0 which would spend another $100 million.
32:10 Jeff Fritzen claims the underpass shows success. He wants the momentum kept moving forward. The underpass means development will be possible south of the tracks. He thinks a new library won’t be built without it.
36:15 – the history review
Wayne Aldrich, Town of Normal did a lengthy recap of how they got to this underpass conclusion. They are pursuing other grants and money that may be available because of the gas tax increase. The difference between the total cost and the grant is $9,000,000
1:07:45 – Stan Nord asked about re-rerouting Constitution Trail – the bikers mentioned crossing where it is now is a problem.
1:13:08 – Kevin McCarthy thanked the DC representatives for help getting the grant.
1:19:20 – Aldrich confirms Normal needs to spend the money and then get reimbursed, probably monthly.
1:23:15 – Karyn Smith asks about students crossing at University Street and Broadway. The Town is considering ways to steer them to the underpass.
1:27 – Kathleen Lorenz wants more discussion and community involvement. She also asked about comments made pertaining to urgency and about reimbursement. Aldrich claimed the ICC wants the problems solved so there is some urgency.
1:32:15 – Chemberly Cummings thanked and praised the staff for their work.
Food was brought in for the Council, they took a break before starting the 7:00 meeting late.