NORMAL – One of the owners of the Normandy Village complex addressed Normal Town Council members toward the end of the government body’s regularly-scheduled meeting Sept. 7 wishing to refute comments a Normal Council member made on his Facebook page concerning intentions over the owners’ planned use for the property.

Julie Hile addressed Council members, including Council Member Stan Nord who made a video recapping his concerns for what Hile and her husband, Bob Broad, had in mind for the property. In addressing Council members, Hile said, “Following the Aug. 16 Council meeting, one Council member made a series of misrepresentations regarding our action at and intentions for Normandy Village.”

Hile said Nord “appears to be seeking to discredit us as public servants and business owners.” She said the intention she and Broad have for the property after purchasing it several years ago was “repairing, preserving, and celebrating this special property.” Among the purposes she said she and Broad had for the property when they purchased it was to make it “a place where community members can gather and create future happy memories.”

In a video found on his Facebook page, first term Councilman Nord stood on Normandy Village property as he said, “The Town staff want to allow bars out here.” He then pointed to a small park nearby he referred to as a “children’s park.”

Nord went on to explain the concern over the property with a request for new businesses on the property. “This was all spurred by the owners of Normandy Village going to the Town and saying, ‘hey, it would be great if we could have bars and breweries out here.’” He said Hile and Broad “then got hooked in with a brewery to help start this whole initiative to allow bars to be out here.”

“Contrary to Mr. Nord’s repeated allegations, we have no intentions to open a bar in Normandy Village,” Hile told Council members. She added what she and her husband intend to do with property is continue to rehab the buildings on the property, and “expanding community activities within the greenspaces, and provide a peaceful and beautiful destination for neighbors, community members, and visitors.”

The property in question is known to locals as the former Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School, or ISSCS. Founded in 1865, ISSCS began as a home and school for children of disabled and deceased Civil War veterans. The facility housed and educated children for more than a century, and permanently closed in 1979.

Financial Trend Report Looks Good Despite Pandemic: In spite of difficulties the pandemic presented for Normal, Town Finance Director Andrew Huhn presented Council members with a rather positive picture of how the Town has fared so far through the crisis. Huhn said his office looks to see how the Town did in various categories to determine the overall financial health of the Town. As it turns out, Normal has gotten through the pandemic period fairly well.

He showed Council members the Town has positive numbers concerning assessed property value, the number of requests for construction building permits, average prices of home sales, and the unemployment rate. In terms of assessed property value, Huhn said the Town discovered an equalized assessed value growth of at least two percent annually will help generate sufficient property tax dollars coming in to offset increases in expenditures.

The number of construction permits requested went up in 2020 versus 2019, as well, Huhn explained. In 2018, 835 construction permits were sought by builders. But that number dropped by 0.5 percent in 2019, to 831 percent. Those requests for building permits increased in 2020 by 6.7 percent, with 887 permit requests being asked for of the Town. Huhn added residential remodeling also saw a jump last year with 656 requests sought by residents from the Town, up from 571 requests in 2019.

Average home prices saw increases in 2020, too, according to the report. In 2021, Normal is currently experiencing what the report calls “a significant increase” in the demand for housing attributed to “continuing economic development associated with Rivian.” Because of that, the Town’s report adds, “This will likely result in home sales and pricing for future years.”

Unemployment in Normal jumped 2 percent from 2.3 percent in 2019 to 4.3 percent in 2020, the report added. The 2.3 percent figure was one of the Town’s lowest, Huhn said, and then he said because of the pandemic, the Town’s unemployment figure jumped to one of its highest in 2020. Huhn actually rates this subject as “positive – with caution,” explaining in the report, “the recovery of the unemployment rate is trending in a positive direction. Normal’s rate remains amongst the lowest compared to the eight largest downstate communities in central Illinois (south of I-80).”

Galesburg, Peoria, and Decatur all experienced higher unemployment numbers from 2020 into 2021. Galesburg saw a jump from 3.8 percent in 2020 to 8.1 percent in 2021, an increase of 3.8 percent; Peoria saw a jump from 4 percent to 8.8 percent in 2021; and Decatur’s went from 4.6 percent in 2020 to 10.2 percent in 2021.

The number of construction permits requested went up in 2020 versus 2019, as well, Huhn explained. In 2018, 835 construction permits were sought by builders. But that number dropped by 0.5 percent in 2019, to 831 percent. Those requests for building permits increased in 2020 by 6.7 percent, with 887 permit requests being asked for of the Town. Huhn added residential remodeling also saw a jump last year with 656 requests sought by residents from the Town, up from 571 requests in 2019.

Average home prices saw increases in 2020, too, according to the report. In 2021, Normal is currently experiencing what the report calls “a significant increase” in the demand for housing attributed to “continuing economic development associated with Rivian.” Because of that, the Town’s report adds, “This will likely result in home sales and pricing for future years.”

Unemployment in Normal jumped 2 percent from 2.3 percent in 2019 to 4.3 percent in 2020, the report added. The 2.3 percent figure was one of the Town’s lowest, Huhn said, and then he said because of the pandemic, the Town’s unemployment figure jumped to one of its highest in 2020. Huhn actually rates this subject as “positive – with caution,” explaining in the report, “the recovery of the unemployment rate is trending in a positive direction. Normal’s rate remains amongst the lowest compared to the eight largest downstate communities in central Illinois (south of I-80).”

Galesburg, Peoria, and Decatur all experienced higher unemployment numbers from 2020 into 2021. Galesburg saw a jump from 3.8 percent in 2020 to 8.1 percent in 2021, an increase of 3.8 percent; Peoria saw a jump from 4 percent to 8.8 percent in 2021; and Decatur’s went from 4.6 percent in 2020 to 10.2 percent in 2021.

Normal and the rest of the country may be in the midst of a global pandemic, but from a financial standpoint, the Town appears to be holding its own and even doing well in spite of the drawbacks the worldwide situation has produced for other communities. That was the gist of the annual financial trend report Normal Town Council members received during their meeting Tuesday, Sept. 7, held the day after the Federal Labor Day Holiday.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 12th, 2021 at 10:21 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.