Amtrak. The site includes eight acres that will be connected to the existing development by an underpass, with construction beginning this summer. The town owns most of the property in the development tract, including the former Town Hall, which now houses the Police and Public Works Departments. The connector will carry the Constitution Trail bikeway under the tracks, open onto a public amphitheater and include a drop-off for train riders and Museum visitors. It's too early to know what Uptown South will cost or what it ultimately will contain, Davison said, though there is talk of a Normal Public Library relocation and great interest in landing a grocery store. HISTORY AND REGIONAL GROWTH Most visitors to Uptown Circle would never guess that Normal traces its roots to an 1854 settlement called North Bloomington. The name changed soon after the state’s first public institution of higher learning — Illinois State Normal School — located there. The teacher’s training school —a “normal” school — lent its name to the village, which was incorporated in 1867. There is much more to Normal than Uptown Circle: dozens of parks and green spaces, a sprawling Constitution Trail, a dizzying selection of distinctive dining experiences, local beer brewing, unique shopping, Redbird Arena, Braden Auditorium, the historic Normal Theatre and much more.

Charlie Moore, president and CEO of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, calls Normal “a very big small town.” “It’s easy to talk about Normal when you’re talking about starting or growing a business because there is a vision and forethought to make it a community that is not only attractive but one that can be competitive. “It’s a place that meets people’s expectations and gives them the quality of life they’re looking for.” He cites the rapid and significant growth of electric vehicle-maker Rivian, the expansion of chocolatier Ferrara Candy in Bloomington, and the first U.S. plant for Canadian ag equipment maker Brandt north of Normal as evidence that “things are going very well.” Davison said that when Uptown plans were first unveiled, some called it “uppity town” because they thought the town was “getting too big for our britches.” “At the end of the day, we did it, and people come from all over to see it. They

can’t believe we did it. “It’s pretty awesome.”

Read more about Uptown Normal at Normal

Scott Fishel is a senior communications executive at WTVP

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