Uptown: We will take two please

By: Diane Benjamin Is Uptown a success? The successful buildings on the circle so far are government owned, Children’s Discovery Museum and Amtrak/Town offices. The third building still has an empty first floor and the taxpayers are renting the entire second floor for the Town. (Remember when the Council told Pam it was a high […]

5 Things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) Pantagraph article on the Normal Town Council meeting: https://pantagraph.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/watch-now-mural-controversy-raises-new-questions-about-disconnect-in-normal/article_9ea2ebcb-99b6-55e9-8798-76e5962bb873.html Excerpt: Did the reporter watch the meeting? A “number of people” were disrupting the meeting. Was the reporter told not to mention the only reason Public Comment was moved is because Stan Nord made a motion to let them speak? It wasn’t […]

Trail East is Dead, now . . . .

By: Diane Benjamin Remember when the Normal Town Council told Pam Reece to make getting the Town out of the $36,000 a month lease for the 2nd story of 1 Uptown Circle a priority? Remember, that building would have never been built if the Town hadn’t agreed to rent an entire floor. Remember too the […]

Two more things

By: Diane Benjamin 1) Ford’s F150 electric battery weighs 1800 pounds: https://jalopnik.com/ford-f-150-lightnings-battery-alone-weighs-as-much-as-a-1846925168?fbclid=IwAR08fR6H4a8DHjuzzpJ_sqKd6V4gazHoDIzIvDlw95456SYxszgtXlbBUkc That is the weight of a Volkswagen Beetle. Is Rivian’s the same? What happens to your car if you get hit by one of these tanks? 1800 pounds is just the battery. 2) The Pantagraph printed a picture of a Rivian employee charging […]

What Mike Matejka left out

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/columnists/mike-matejka-normal-election-potholes-vs-progress/article_b11f20fe-e830-5d01-bc84-d912acc37bf5.html Anybody know why the guy who voted to build the Coliseum gets to write a column in the paper? Better yet, why does anybody listen to him when he not only voted against the will of the people but has never apologized for his taxpayer fleece? Of course Mike is campaigning […]

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: […]

Vengeance Normal?

By:  Diane Benjamin $100,000 to move this? What we know: Koos and Company are REALLY upset by the results of the last election The citizens overwhelmingly voted the “Plan” dead Koos and Company think the “Plan” isn’t dead This building will not be saved The Normal voters waited too long to send the message the […]

Radicals on the loose

By:  Diane Benjamin These people were in downtown Normal yesterday to confront Rodney Davis: This event was put together by Sonny Garcia (Illinois People’s Action) with very little notice, they claim a total of two dozen eventually showed up.  Illinois People’s Action, Democrat Socialists of America, and the group below are all tied together by […]

Are all Commissions really a joke?

By:  Diane Benjamin We know Bloomington’s Police Review Board (PSCRB) has been in existence for a year, held lots of meetings, prepared information for citizens, and has yet to hear one complaint.  Anybody think it was set up as a “feel good” board and never intended to hear complaints? Now we will see if Normal’s Historic […]

Question . . .

Why are Bob and Julie Dobski spending $4 million to build an upscale restaurant when the space at 1 Uptown Circle is still vacant? Too expensive in Uptown? They weren’t the “Right Fit”? The Dobski’s know their patrons don’t want to park in a garage and walk? They wanted to be in Bloomington instead of […]

Wrong side of the tracks

By:  Diane Benjamin In March I posted a story concerning the “luxury” apartments in the new building on Uptown Circle:     https://blnnews.com/2018/03/17/more-on-uptown-circle/ At that time Zillow showed 16 apartments for rent.  It now shows 14 ranging from $1650 and month to $4200:     https://www.zillow.com/b/1-uptown-circle-normal-il-9J8XNH/ Public Comment on items other than the Welcoming Ordinance was at […]

Why was Subway’s rent lowered?

By:  Diane Benjamin PDF page 41  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2891 The Subway located inside Uptown Station isn’t prospering as expected.  It might have something to do with the Town not allowing them to have a sign visible from the street so people know they are there.   From the discussion last Monday, the Town may allow them to use Sandwich […]

Christmas: Downtown vrs Uptown

by:  Diane Benjamin Both Bloomington and Normal are bankrupting their towns and citizens with Utopian dreams.  The difference is Normal spent taxpayer money where people can see it, Bloomington threw money away on a failing Coliseum and heavily subsidized BCPA. The difference is obvious when you look at the Christmas decorations the towns put up.  […]

4 more years of Koos?

By:  Diane Benjamin Chris Koos was on WJBC this morning.  Hear the interview HERE Did you know that Uptown is NEVER going to be finished?  Yep, Koos said that. He is running for a 4th term because he isn’t done with his vision. Bloomington-Normal will be paying for a new sports facility if Koos and […]

Sorry BLM, it wasn’t a “peaceful” protest

By:  Diane Benjamin Tuesday night Uptown Galleries knew protestors were gathering outside.  I didn’t count the group but at least 20 people lined both sides of the doors as people left. I saw NO police. Previous debates did have officers present.  Why would the Town of Normal allow this group to gather outside the debate […]

Normal’s Lavish Lunacy

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve talked to some residents of Normal who don’t understand Normal’s desire for an underpass at the Amtrak station.  WJBC has a nice picture of where they want to put it – between the Amtrak station and the Children’s Discovery Museum.  http://www.wjbc.com/2017/02/06/normal-taking-next-step-toward-possible-uptown-pedestrian-underpass/ Last October Normal spent another $1.4 million to “study” the […]

Fly on the wall: Pantagraph

Buzzing around City Hall, I heard Tari Renner announce the Pantagraph is moving to Uptown Normal. I wonder if they will care that Tari announced the move before they did! That also means, if Renner is re-elected, plans will be announced for taxpayers to subsidize redeveloping the Pantagraph building. You are the monkey-wrench, but only […]

UPDATE: Anybody see a problem:

There is yet another meeting tonight – again not on the City Calendar.  It is on the Home page of the City website:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=18&recordid=3777&returnURL=%2findex.aspx It is about Hamilton Road.  Interested parties should attend.  This one starts at 5:00 at Prairie Vista.  The only meeting on the calendar is Citizens Beautification. By:  Diane Benjamin This meeting […]

Normal: Like being slaves?

By:  Diane Benjamin Start here:  Normal’s Public Comment policy.  Everything in YELLOW is illegal: It’s always risky to believe news in the Pantagraph, but I’m going to use what they reported. The Town is giving away another property plus loaning $2.75 million to the developer.  I wonder if that money was just lying around?   Normal […]

Sage wants you to pay for UpityTown

By:  Diane Benjamin I heard Chris Koos and company went to DC A DAY EARLY for the One Voice trip.  Why did they go a day early?  To get grants for themselves?  The rest of the group DIDN’T know, didn’t that destroy the unity purpose!  (ONE VOICE – nope, just a bunch of voices wanting […]

Going to Uptown meeting tonight?

by:  Diane Benjamin Feeling immaterial to your government in Normal?  You should.  Somebody should rename it Koosville since he gets anything he wants.  The Council doesn’t represent you and debt is not a concern – even though revenue is dropping.  Raise taxes – that’s the ticket!  Revenues will continue to decrease as government takes more […]

Elections: Normal

Often elections don’t have a clear choice or show clear differences between the candidates.  In Normal you have a clear choice.  Most people believe in term limits for politicians, with good reason.  When people are elected over and over and over the absolute power they feel is corrupting.  We have many obvious examples:  Harry Reid, John […]

Election: Normal

BLNNews.com has many stories about Normal, Uptown, properties purchased and given away, crony capitalism, and the debt.  The below links highlight why change is needed in Normal.  The third link has a map of the TIF district.  The southern part hasn’t been completed, so the spending, borrowing, and giving away properties will continue under Chris […]

“Uptown” and Crony Capitalism

by:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal is required to report annually to the State on their TIF districts.  The “Uptown” 2012 TIF report can be found here: Uptown tif Basically, creating a TIF district allows the Town to keep the increase in property taxes collected because of redevelopment. This document is 191 pages long, […]

If You Live in Normal . . .

by Diane Benjamin I’m sure you heard the plans for another hotel in Uptown Normal – across the street from the Marriott. From what I can tell, this property was purchased from Commerce Bank in 2007 or early 2008 for $1,550,000.  Given the history of Uptown, Normal may be planning on GIVING this property to […]