NORMAL – R. C. McBride served one four-year term on the Normal Town Council, his term ending in April last year when he could not secure re-election. But thanks to an appointment approved by a Council vote Monday night, McBride will accept an appointment to the Normal Planning Commission. For McBride, it’s a return to where his local political career began because he served as a member of the Commission from 2006 until he won election to Normal Town Council in 2015.

McBride will be filling a vacancy on the Commission created by the resignation of Tejas Jani. Jani was appointed to the Planning Commission last November but will soon be relocating out of the area. McBride’s term on the Planning Commission expires on March 31.

An Illinois State University graduate, McBride is general manager of WGLT FM in Normal and WCBU FM in Peoria, both National Public Radio affiliates. WGLT signed on to take over operations of Bradley University’s NPR affiliate in April 2019.

In addition to his duties in radio, McBride teaches in the School of Communication at Illinois State University. He and his wife, Christy, have three school-age children.

But when the vote was taken by Normal Town Council members for McBride’s appointment, Council members approved it by a 6-1 count, with Council Member Stan Nord casting the lone dissenting vote. Nord has previously stated an objection to taking such votes to approve a committee appointee on the grounds Council members ought to be given advance notice about such appointments to give Council members an opportunity to interview appointees.

Nord said Normal Town Council members only find out about appointees to be approved when they are announced at Council sessions. By comparison, he said, Bloomington City Council members are informed a few days before they take a vote on an appointee. He said that gives Bloomington Council members an opportunity to ask questions about or to the appointee.

“Otherwise, Council members are just expected to just rubber stamp” appointees presented by Mayor Chris Koos, Nord said.

Koos contended the appointment process has been the means used to select appointments by the Town as long as he has been on Council since he was appointed Mayor in 2003. Koos is currently running for a fifth term as mayor in elections to be held next spring. He added there is an interest in using an interview process with people who would be asked to sit on boards and commissions, but Koos said the current political climate in which there is such division of opinion makes finding individuals willing to serve difficult.

Such appointments made “is the Mayor’s appointment, not the Council’s appointment,” Koos said, adding the appointment “comes with advice and consent of the Council.” He added “the majority of the Council” does not want to change the current process.

Updated Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan Presented, Accepted: Council members unanimously approved an updated bicycle/pedestrian master plan created for the Town by St. Louis-based Alta Planning and Design. Kevin Neill, planning associate from that company, presented the plan from his office. The Town original bicycle/pedestrian plan came from this same company in 2009.

The recent update began last November with surveys and in-person conversations, with finalization of the plan taking shape in June, Neill explained. Goals for the plan included matters related to connectivity, safety, equity, quality of life, environment, and economic issues.

The plan brought before the Council included not just sidewalks being increased, but use of sidepaths and shared use paths and trails, Neill indicated. He said there are a number of ways “to create mutual respect” between pedestrians and people who drive, which he showed Council members. Those included: A bike-pedestrian-traffic enforcement program, bike safety education, open street events, and even events like a bike rodeo.

Following the presentation, Council members had comments, starting with Chemberly Cummings, who stated she looked forward to seeing the updated program “being put into action.” Council Member Kevin McCarthy added what he thought was impressive about the plan was the fact that “it’s not the Council’s plan, it’s the public’s plan. The public came together, facilitated by the consultants, to tell us about this asset that we all love.”

Among those who spoke during the public comments section of the meeting was Kellie Williams, vice president of the McLean County Wheelers, a club for cycling enthusiasts numbering around 150 people. “We encourage the Council to accept and support implementation of the bicycle and pedestrian master plan,” Williams said. Although she could not quote statistics, she said she was aware purchases of bikes “had increased dramatically since stay at home orders were issued” in March. She called the master plan debut “well timed.”

Stating the potential the plan offers bike riders and pedestrians, Laurel Schumacher, a board member of Friends of Constitution Trail, said she was in support of the plan. “The plan will only further to enhance and enrich our community,” She said.

Zach Dietmeier, an employee of Rivian Automotive, said he was excited to see updates to the plan. He said a number of Rivian employees ride bikes to get to and from work. He added Rivian employees “from across the globe sing the praises of our trail system, using it regularly when they are in town.”

Resident Tim McCue told he has been working to help with the master plan, and added one of the measures of how welcoming a community is includes how accessible it is to its residents. McCue said the new plan “makes so many more resources in our community available to so many more people.”

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting held Sept. 21, 2020.

• Report to receive and file Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Sept. 30, 2020.

• A resolution to accept water treatment plant chemical bids from November 2020 through October 2021.

• A resolution to award a contract to Greenfield Contractors LLC for the construction of a new salt storage building in the public works yard in the amount of $120,685.08.

• A resolution reapproving a preliminary subdivision plan for North Bridge Subdivision.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of a collective bargaining agreement with International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local #2442.

• A resolution authorizing participation in the Local Cure Program and related programs.

• A motion to postpone the public hearing process for the text amendment for the One Normal Plaza Planned Unit Development.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 9th, 2020 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Normal Town Council, The Normalite. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.