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Normal Promotes Community-Wide Sustainability Plan

In a work session of the Normal Town Council, held last week on July 11th, councilmembers discussed implementation of the Community-Wide Sustainability Plan and 2035 Report. For this plan and similar reports, there is a resource page with links to reports on the Normal Planning and Zoning Division.

The momentum for this plan is years in the making, starting with the Normal Uptown Redevelopment Plan in 2001 and continuing with the sustainable city design proposals of Doug Farr and Associates in 2006.

In 2006-2007, the Main Street Working Group, coordinated by the McLean County Regional Planning Commission, brought the Farr sustainability proposals for the Main Street Corridor to the larger community, hosting numerous well-attended community meetings. Residents offered suggestions for what they envisioned for the Main Street corridor, including more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly street design and more concentrated urban development that would cut down on urban sprawl, improve city-center livability, and revitalize business in the corridor.

In 2009,the Normal Mayor and Town Council convened the Community-Wide Sustainability Task Force, which was charged with creating “a vision of Normal as a community that stewards all resources responsibly, so that our town can continue to thrive and grow for generations to come.” The Task Force and its Work Groups involved 139 community members, representing numerous organizations and institutions. Some important partners in this project included the Ecology Action Center, Heartland Community College, Illinois State University, and the international “Transitions Town” initiative. The work of this Task Force resulted in the Community-Wide Sustainability Plan.

There should be numerous ways BloNo residents can participate in the future in constructing a sustainable town, as elements of the Community-Wide Sustainability Plan are proposed and implemented.

For example, there are current plans for constructing a ten-foot wide bike lane the length of Main Street. There will be a public meeting in the fall, near ISU after students have returned for school, where people can voice support for the bike lane.

BloNo residents can also get involved in the many environmental organizations in town, including the partners involved in the Sustainability Task Force. One partner, the Transition Town initiative, meets monthly and will have a meeting Friday, July 22nd, at 7 pm. Contact Carolyn Treadway for information (carolyn@gracefulllife.com) on the meeting and how to become involved.

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