Has work started on West College and the Underpass?

By: Diane Benjamin West College was despicable when the Normal Town Council approved a plan to fix it clear back in 2020: https://blnnews.com/2020/06/23/normal-on-fixing-west-college/ According to the Community Investment Plan the Town first had to extend sewer lines to the West side of Rivian Motorway.  That work should have been completed in FY 2023 which ended […]

Koos is upset trains are blocking his crossings

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2023-02-09/railroad-caused-traffic-jam-irritates-mayor-of-normal Some stories write themselves! Chris Koos is upset about freight trains blocking crossings in Normal. Fort Jesse, College, and Linden are frequently blocked. Koss thinks he can demand shorter freight trains. He is of course oblivious to business practices that make transportation cheaper with volume. (How does he stay in business?) […]


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 […]

Normal didn’t get $6 mil more, they only got $3,157,375

By: Diane Benjamin See original story: https://blnnews.com/2022/05/09/no-surprise-normal-needs-6-million-more-to-build-the-underpass/ Monday packet: https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4398 PDF page 62: Either people all across the country are funding Normal’s amenities or money is being printed so Normal can have an underpass vehicles can’t use. Brilliant. Oh, the Subway inside the Amtrak station closed, another Uptown success story. Remember what Normal did when […]

I wonder what happened to Normal’s request?

By: Diane Benjamin Correction: this was his hearing the last time he was appointed. No hearings are scheduled yet for his current appointment. If he isn’t confirmed by the end of this Congress this year the process starts over. If you were wondering about Chris Koos’ appointment to the Amtrak Board, hearings are scheduled for […]

Failed communication in Normal

By: Diane Benjamin Remember when Kathleen Lorenz made an impassioned plea for the Council to communicate better? https://blnnews.com/2022/05/03/kathleen-now-hears-what-we-hear-when-watching-meetings/ That happened on May 3, 2022. (Two weeks ago!) Evidently she didn’t mean it. When I posted the story about Normal requesting another $6 million for the underpass, Stan Nord emailed the Council asking what they knew. […]

No surprise, Normal needs $6 million more to build the underpass

By: Diane Benjamin This information was received by FOIA, I didn’t submit the FOIA. Start here. Normal held an Open House in February to show off the Underpass plans. Staff created a SLIDE SHOW for the event. One item was originally in the presentation but was then deleted. See this email: It now isn’t $23 […]

Normal tonight

By: Diane Benjamin Community Meeting on the Future Uptown Connector / Underpass Project PLEASE TAKE NOTICE a public meeting on the future Uptown Connector/Underpass Project will be held at Normal City Hall, Room 409, 11 Uptown Circle, Normal, McLean County, Illinois at 5 p.m., prevailing time, on the 16th day of February, 2022. The meeting […]

Normal: Bait and Switch

By: Diane Benjamin While Bloomington is trying to pay cash for purchases instead of borrowing for capital expenses, Normal is running in the opposite direction. The Town of Normal stockpiles money in reserves, the applicable fund for this discussion is Vehicle and Equipment reserves. Obviously citizens in Normal are paying higher taxes so the Town […]

Normal: You get an underpass whether you want it or not

By: Diane Benjamin Most of what you need to know about the passage of accepting all the grant money is in the underpass vote. Koos, McCarthy, Smith, and Cummings were enthusiastic Yes votes. Nord voted No, Preston and Lorenz squeaked out Yes votes after uncomfortable pauses. Watch just the vote here: What else you need […]

Preview of Normal for Monday

By: Diane Benjamin https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4034 Another parking deck loss: Chalk up another 2nd floor rent payment while the first floor of One Uptown Circle is still empty: On the agenda: Uptown floods, the underpass will flood too. The bobbleheads will approve anyway: There is more, why blow the surprise now?

Normal: Underpass over Sewers

By: Diane Benjamin Last weekend’s flooding proved local governments care more about building new than maintaining the infrastructure they already have. Anybody think the underpass Normal is desperate to build won’t flood? Think it won’t get icy in the winter? How will Amtrak passengers get to the other side if either happens? Probably the same […]

Underpass: Too late to stop it

By: Diane Benjamin Underpass work session: So far Normal has authorized spending $1.5 million on Phase 1 of the underpass. Chris Koos stated it can not be stopped now because of all the staff time, grants received, and other agencies involved that wouldn’t like Normal backing out now. It almost sounded like Wayne Aldrich (Director […]

Riveting assemblage tonight in Normal?

By: Diane Benjamin Keep in mind many of Normal’s professional staff don’t live in Normal: https://blnnews.com/2020/12/14/guess-where-town-of-normal-employees-dont-live/ They have no reason to keep taxes low, make the roads drivable, or the water drinkable. The Council will be meeting at 5:15 to hear the status of the underpass project. Public opinion is immaterial. The fanciest properties will […]

Town of Normal: Your water is fine

By: Diane Benjamin Bloomington’s meeting last night will have to wait until tomorrow! Would you drink this? This is water from S. Coolidge in Normal, if the homeowner didn’t have a filter system this is what it would look like. The owner claims his neighbors are too afraid to complain. I hear that frequently from […]

And the LOSER is: the underpass

By: Diane Benjamin The comments submitted on the underpass project were received by FOIA. https://blnnews.com/2021/04/16/hey-normal/ The comments were overwhelmingly negative with a few submitted in support by the usually Koos allies. The only difference between going ahead with the underpass and the Coliseum, both not supported by residents, is Koos and company got the entire […]

Why Koos was desperate and what he didn’t bother to tell you

By: Diane Benjamin h/t a reader The below was received by FOIA. Other documents state a new library is still on the table after the underpass is built. Many Koos voters think the only thing that matters is progress, progress to what is never defined. They think projects like this, funded completely with tax dollars, […]

Why Koos needs GONE

By: Diane Benjamin The Normal Town Council meeting was thankfully much shorter than usual, but the attacks on Stan Nord continued unabated. Start with Koos’ secret appointments to Boards and Commission. He has stated in the past appointments can’t be discussed because they are “personnel”. They are volunteers that don’t get paid, they work for […]

Both Councils Meeting Tonight

By: Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington will be holding a Committee of the Whole meeting to hear the plans for O’Neil park. http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1106&Inline=True The proposed budget for next year has $10,000,000 allocated. Remember when Renner and company wanted a water park? My sources say the neighborhood defeated turning their area into a destination. They […]

2 Things to watch for if Koos is worried about April 6th

By: Diane Benjamin Long before Rivian received major investments, the Town of Normal put deposits down on TWO Rivian vehicles. https://blnnews.com/2018/12/21/merry-christmas-rivian/ Buying one could be considered supporting a Normal business, but why two VERY expensive luxury vehicles? The Council has not approved purchasing any at this point. We have no idea who would drive them […]

Normal won’t care about your opinion, but they want it anyway

By:  Diane Benjamin New Front Page on the Town of Normal website:  https://www.normal.org/ See the top right hand corner.  Clicking there will take you to a short survey. Hint:  Stop building vanity projects with taxpayer money and NONE OF THE ABOVE are not potential answers. Koos and company are rushing to find the money to […]

Normal’s asininity

By:  Diane Benjamin http://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3660 The Town of Normal is going together with the County, Bloomington, and BNWRD to fund hazardous waste collection days through the Ecology Action Center. PDF page 61: This is common sense since citizens expect nobody associated with the Town to profit off this contract.  Too bad it didn’t apply to this: […]

Normal isn’t listening

By:  Diane Benjamin On November 5, 2018 the Town of Normal bought property at the corner of Hershey and Sheppard for a fire station.  Remember, the residents in the area didn’t want it located there – the Town ignored their petition. The purchase price was $450,000 for 1.69 acres (according to GIS):  http://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3107 Monday night […]

Why is Mike Matejka involved?

By:  Diane Benjamin Need proof Normal’s spending is to provide union jobs?   Keep reading.  When the private sector isn’t providing jobs, government is the only alternative. Mike Matejka is the Governmental Affairs Director, Great Plains Laborers District Council representing LiUNA locals in central Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Why is Mike Matejka arranging official […]

Normal Taxpayers fleeced again

By:  Diane Benjamin Surprise surprise! Normal had an agreement with IDOT to build an overhead passenger walkway at their expense: The source for the above is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by former City Manager Mark Peterson and officials from the State of Illinois and Union Pacific Railroad:  12.6.16_MOU Your elected officials decided a […]

Glen Ellyn vrs Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin Glen Ellyn also got a federal grant.  While Normal received $13 million, they got $14.4 million. The grant is for reconstructing their Metra station and a pedestrian tunnel: What’s the price tag? $20,000,000 Source:  http://www.dailyherald.com/glen-ellyn-to-celebrate-144m-grant-for-metra-station-project What is the price tag for Normal’s underpass (only)? $22,000,000 Glenn Ellyn’s tunnel will have ramps to […]

Normal: Outrageous Price!

By:  Diane Benjamin At Monday’s Council meeting at was announced they think the formerly $24,000,000 underpass can be built for $22,000,000.  This Uptown vanity won’t allow a single car to avoid sitting at a crossing waiting for a train to pass.  It won’t stop people from crossing the tracks on foot at other crossings. Compare […]

Another Lesson in Limited Government

By:  Diane Benjamin There are two types of people in government:   Those who think their position demands they “make progress”   Those who think their job is to create an environment so people can create their own “progress”. One uses your money for their vision, the other allows you to create your own vision.  […]

Normal recap 11/18/2019 Part 1

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 […]