July 1, 2010
Welcome to Uptown Normal, where we hope you will join us for the 2010 Annual Conference of the American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter. This will be a perfect time to visit Uptown Normal, where most of the redevelopment dust has settled. New streetscapes and utilities have been installed, the traffic circle is working very well, and the central water feature is fully functional. By September, the federal TIGER grant-funded “Multimodal Transportation Center” will be under construction near the conference event. You will see the fruits of more than ten years of planning labor!
We’re fortunate to be able to use the new Marriott Hotel and Conference Center for our annual event. It’s an outstanding facility, located in the midst of a vibrant and historic commercial center and adjacent to the beautiful Illinois State University campus. Within a three block radius, conference attendees can enjoy a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities. Bring the kids, and you can walk down to the Town’s very popular Children’s Discovery Museum or attend a movie at the historic Normal Theater. If conference attendees want to hop onto a local bus or stroll down the Constitution Trail, there are also many great businesses in our sister city Bloomington’s historic downtown.
Please be sure to notice the “green” elements of the annual conference. Environmental sustainability is a core value for planners, and it has been at the heart of the Uptown Normal project since the earliest days. Notable design elements in Uptown Normal include “Silva Cells” that permit healthy tree root growth under the sidewalks, a water feature that cleanses stormwater runoff with wetland plants, and three LEED Silver buildings. These features played a key role in the U.S. Green Building Council designating a portion of Uptown Normal as “Silver” under its new LEED-ND program for Neighborhood Development.
We look forward to meeting all of you this September!
Phil Dick, AICP, Director Mercy Davison, Town Planner
McLean County Dept. of Building and Zoning Town of Normal, IL
I will be speaking of Friday morning at the conference on
Sustainable Economic Development in tough Economic Times.