Say Goodbye to the Mural

By:  Diane Benjamin

Trail East is moving forward.  Bids are being taken by Bush Development which means the mural will be going away soon.  See the plan to move it here:  Moving the Mural January 7, 2019

The work was supposed to start by June 1, 2019.

This new building is going to be HUGE:

Trail East Properties Lot Lines - Aerial view

The architect, structural engineer, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer are all with Farnsworth.  They just happen to be one of the future tenants.  PDF page 49 of the document below states:

fanrsworth required

Conflict of interest?

The developer was unable to bid services, Farnsworth has no incentive to look for savings.


Original agreement January 16, 2018:

Detailed agreement October 15, 2018:

The 10/15/18 document states the mural was permitted by the Town – just in case you thought it was done without permission.

On January 7, 2019 the Council approved making the building even bigger:

This document also states the cost of moving the mural – PDF page 90

mural cost

The Town wants you to believe the only costs for taxpayers are from “future revenue”.  Those include up to $8.43 million is TIF funds.  The Town was planning to keep $430,000 of TIF money to reimburse taxpayers for the utility work Normal agreed to do.  The January agreement gives it to the developer instead.   It also rebates 50% of the Food and Beverage taxes for 5 years – up to $250,000.

The developer will also receive a sales tax exemption and .5% State investment tax credit.  See PDF page 83 of the October packet.  Also in this packet on PDF page 84 is a parking agreement.  The Town is giving them 300 parking spots for $10 a month through 2023, then 50% off the going rate through 2029.  Of course the public will be losing a parking lot.

The Town doesn’t want you to know the additional cost – the land the town GAVE to the developer for $1.  

PDF page 128 of the October document has a list of all the properties.  The only property the Town doesn’t own is 106 E Beaufort.   $670,000   included above   $930,000   $55,500    $500,000    included above    included above    $100,000    $160,000

Total  $2,415,500 although some of the above are confusing.

Three on the same day – PIN #14-28-435-027, #14-28-435-030 and #14-28-435-014

Who is Simon Wilson?  He sold property he didn’t own on the same day Normal bought it?


Other notes:

Yesterday on 1 Uptown Circle had 2 units available.  Trail East will add more apartments.  Don’t forget the 1st floor of 1 Uptown Circle is still vacant.

2 companies have committed to locating in the new building.  They are currently in Bloomington, thus Normal is merely stealing jobs from Bloomington.

The developer does not have to use local labor or union labor.

No new long-term jobs are being created.  The chairs on the Titanic are just being rearranged.

A food court is planned in Trail East.  Normal will be the beneficiary of  Food and Beverage Taxes at the expense of Bloomington.

Good luck finding parking in Uptown.

The building will require LEED certification which is meaningless as Normal has proven

Trail East is so complicated other details could be missing, but to recap:

Moving the mural   $100,000

TIF rebates  –  maximum of $8,430,000  (1/7/20 PDF page 83)

Relocating utilities expense  $207,807  (10/15/20 PDF page 138)

Food and Beverage taxes    $250,000   (1/7/20 PDF page 84)

State Investment credit    $150,000  (10/15/20 PDF page 83)

Developer Easement  $50,000  (10/15/18 PDF page 109 7.6)

Unknown cost of waiving permits and fees

Unknown sales tax on construction materials

Unknown parking revenue

The costs of tearing buildings on any of the properties are unknown.

Infrastructure improvements to any of the properties is also unknown.

$2,415,500 in free land – minus $1.00

Grand total $11,603,307

(not including the unknowns)

If you don’t have your pics of the mural yet, you better hurry!

This is how taxpayers got in debts for 10’s of million of dollars.  All their redevelopment projects gave away your money.




16 thoughts on “Say Goodbye to the Mural

  1. Too bad no-one will be able to eat in the food court due to COVID 19. Why build a new office building when everyone is working from home? Why the need for apartments if ISU goes online? Anybody think about any of this before moving ahead?

    As to your point about parking, don’t be so silly. Take a Connect Transit bus or buy a bike from Koos’ bike shop.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. ISU is building their own food court by the dorms so most students will eat on campus.

    There is so much vacancy in this town and the shutdown will only increase it. It will cost much less to rent elsewhere so this place remain as empty as the 1st floor of 1 Uppity town. Unless it is some government or government subsidized renter of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is like driving up to your house and discovering that it is completely engulfed in flames and the first thing you say is, “How about we start on that addition tomorrow?”

    Anyone in leadership who wants to go ahead with MORE building in downtown Normal should be asked to resign immediately.

    Because if you think building more structures in downtown Normal is a good idea, as we begin a city killing downward economic spiral, you are just too dumb to be in charge of anything.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. GEEZ – How do we make them stop spending our money on their pet projects??? Maybe Farnsworth could just move into some of the existing space that remains vacant?!?!?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Koos and Co are going on a spending spree to get as much of their Utopia completed before the next election. I predict rapid and expensive green-lighting of projects. Hold on tight, this is going to be one expensive ride.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Like YOUR comment STANKY! “uptown” has been so stupid for SO long and for SO MANY DOLLARS. It’s going to catch up with them. And it AIN’T going to take that long! Koos, Pam and he rest of the “clan” are due for a good tar and feathering!


  7. Two skunks were drinving down the road and one skunk says to the other, “Hey what’s that skinny old thing riding down the road up thar?” “Oh wow, that’s one of them Koos creatures. Swerve!” says the 2nd skunk. Thunk. “Whew-u- wee, that really stinks! What was that really?” says the first skunk. “It’s called a no good, lyin’, rotten, rip off politician. Worst smell ever when one goes down.” says the 2nd skunk. “Hope that smell comes off our ride. Eww!”


  8. Good riddance to that graffiti…I mean “mural”. I hope the pod gets stuck with the bill.
    As for the parking argument, it is just ridiculous. There is ample parking in uptown. There is going to be a parking garage literally right across the street from either end of the future building.


    1. It may have been graffiti-esque, but it was fun and colorful and didn’t have any of the negative elements or connotations of actual graffiti. Definitely a net positive to the majority of people. It added enormously more value to the downtown area than the burying of power lines in the alleyway between the businesses and the railroad tracks, and the council deemed that latter worthy of a quarter million unbudgeted taxpayer dollars even during a budget shortfall!
      You are partially correct about there being parking, but this is a question of Adequate And Appropriate parking. People don’t like doubling their effective drive time to a destination because of parking. Given the choice between searching through a drab parking garage and then having to deal with the additional walking (and pay extra for that Inconvenience!), more people will choose to drive further to go someplace where they can enjoy parking in the outdoors and have a nicer, shorter walk.
      This was documented over several years of library usage when their parking was in flux, and has been cited among the reasons that no higher-end restaurant wants to locate on the circle.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ridiculous! There’s already an oversupply of commercial space in Bloomington-Normal. This is another Koos move to consolidate power in Uptown, control businesses, and centrally plan our lives. This area will be artificially propped up with taxpayer dollars to give the illusion of success. Would any of the businesses in Uptown survive or relocate there without a subsidy? The answer is likely “No.” It’s so nice that taxpayer money can be handed out to friends of the mayor to start restaurants, while mom-and-pop restauranters that have put in decades of blood, sweat and tears are struggling to keep the lights on. Their only crime….not be located in Uptown. This is not going to end well.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Concentrate ALL the idiots in uptown, and the rest of us will know to avoid it at ALL cost!
    Kind of like passing a hog house on a hot summer day.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Town of Normal doesn’t even have the common courtesy to supply its citizens with complimentary KY jelly.


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