1990s - 2000s
1990s-2000s: Introducing Uptown Normal
In the spring of 1999, the Town Council embarked on an extensive assessment and planning process for the community’s central business district, an effort that continues today, and includes numerous public and private investments. The first steps of this effort included a complete overhaul of the streetscape and public utilities, the construction of a new traffic circle and constitution boulevard and the construction of several new buildings, such as Children’s Discovery Museum and Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The goal was to establish the Town of Normal as a leader in sustainable planning and development and to create a pedestrian friendly environment that featured open public spaces and healthy buildings for the residents. In 2006, the town officially changed the name of Downtown Normal to Uptown Normal.
Uptown Normal now includes the Uptown Station Multi-modal Transportation Center, which also contains many Town of Normal administrative offices. The facility supports several modes of transportation, including passenger rail with the capability for "high-speed" rail, intercity and local bus service, airport shuttles, taxi and Uber services, passenger vehicles, bike-sharing, and pedestrians. Uptown Station increases the efficiency of transportation and improves amenities in Normal, while enhancing the regional transportation network.
A roundabout, or traffic circle, that connects Beaufort Street, North Street and Constitution Boulevard in Uptown Normal, includes a uniquely designed public space used for passive activities by people in the area. The Gateway Plaza, located south of the traffic circle, is designed exclusively to host small events, such as farmer’s markets, but is also the focal point for larger events and activities, such as the Sweet Corn Blues Festival and the Sugar Creek Arts Festival. The plaza also serves as a gateway to Normal and its uptown area for visitors arriving on the passenger rail.
The Town of Normal Today
Today, Normal spans 17.04 square miles and has a population of 52,497. It consists of three colleges and universities and 17 parks spanning 370 acres. The Town of Normal employs more than 350 full-time individuals who strive to provide a quality environment in which to live, work and play.
Next: 2015 - 150th Celebration