Normal to consider a community investment plan of 157 million dollars | Politics

NORMAL — Normal City Council is expected to approve a community investment plan Monday that spans $157 million in projects.

The plan includes more than 400 proposed projects for the next five fiscal years.

In releasing the plan, the city also rolled out a new interactive map tool for the city’s website that integrates the investment plan into a geographic information system.

City communications director Cathy Oloffson said Normal “has been providing a community investment plan for about 15 years because we wanted to create transparency and educate our residents about proposed projects, but this new graphical tool is much friendlier and more project-oriented.”

The GIS tool is “much easier than the old spreadsheet”, and residents can use it to learn more about planned projects across the city, including details on funding sources, he said. she declared.

“This effort exemplifies the spirit of a smart city project using the power of data and technology to create greater transparency and efficiency,” said Vasudha Gadhiraju, Normal’s chief innovation and technology officer.

As part of the investment plan, the town hall proposes:

  • $65.9 million in transportation projects, including the Uptown Station Underpass Project and ADA improvements;
  • $29.4 million related to vehicle and equipment requirements;
  • $26.9 million in water distribution projects, including the extension of College Avenue;
  • $16.6 million in sewer collection projects;
  • $8.8 million in facilities projects, including a new fire hall;
  • $5.2 million in stormwater drainage projects;
  • $4.4 million in parks and recreation.

Council will also consider a zoning code amendment that would create permanent guidelines for the use of outdoor dining in parking lots.

This way of outdoor dining was originally approved in May 2020 when bars and restaurants could not offer indoor dining due to COVID-19 restrictions. Extensions to the temporary outdoor dining program continued as restaurants received positive feedback from customers throughout the warmer months.

137 new COVID cases Friday in McLean County, 59K in Illinois this week

“Developing these permanent guidelines really responds to the popularity of outdoor dining,” Oloffson said, noting that restaurants have taken the opportunity to serve customers in this way and that residents have used the configuration of the parklet, especially in uptown areas.

The amendment sets out guidelines that include the ADA delineation requirements. If the council approves the amendment, businesses will be able to use up to 10% of the parking spaces required for this outdoor dining configuration from April 1 to October 1.

The 39th Annual Children’s Christmas Party, sponsored by the Bloomington & Normal Trades & Labor Assembly and the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, served approximately 200 low-income families and 700 children with toys, groceries and of holiday cheer. Dozens of volunteers helped pack boxes with toys, then distribute the toys and groceries on Saturday, Dec. 11 at the Midwest Food Bank in Normal.

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.

Jill E. Washington