By: Diane Benjamin
Two topics were discussed during Normal’s 5:00 pm Work Session: the Underpass lighting and north side aesthetics plus this one:
Funding a Housing Navigator
Bloomington heard the details awhile back and hasn’t voted, Monday it was Normal’s turn. It was stated by Kathleen Lorenz that Bloomington-Normal is currently short 4300 places to live.
I have one question that wasn’t asked. How is hiring a Navigator going to help when there is no place for many people to live?
A cadre of local non-profits want this position and expect both Bloomington and Normal to fork over the money to pay the person.
Where is Koos going to house the illegals he said could be shipped downstate? Did he mean way downstate and not Bloomington-Normal? The navigator was presented starting at 48:30.
Staff is already looking at increasing the cost of the underpass, of course they will also be looking for grants. The underpass lighting budget is between $150,000 and $200,000 now but Beth Whisman has bigger ideas that could include $1,000,000 art installation inside the underpass if a professional artist is hired. Pictures are included showing possibilities. Slide through the beginning of the video to see them.
Much of the conversation was on what to do with the north plaza, this a rendering of that space:
44 minutes into the discussion Kathleen Lorenz asked how big this space actually is. Since the size determines what can be there it’s important to know. Items discussed before her question ranged from a play space connected to the Museum to an art installation.
Public Works Director Ryan Otto didn’t know: (43:52)
I’m not sure why the gorgeous tree at 23:28 was included. It isn’t a real tree, it’s a high tech item that would be at least $1 million. Whisman stated Normal doesn’t need something like that and there wouldn’t be room anyway. Was that to make whatever Normal picks look conservative?
Chemberly Harris did not attend either of the two meeting Monday night. Stan Nord and Scott Preston both showed up late for the 5:00 meeting.
Scroll through the pictures to get an idea what staff is considering. A rendering of the total project is at 4:35. Just the south side is at 7:53.
You might want to listen to Koos at 25:35. His vision will be the reality regardless of what anyone else says. It will be costing you more even if the Town finds grants, they normally require matching funds.