CNU ILLINOIS CHARTER AWARDS - 2015
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD, DISTRICT, AND CORRIDOR
City of Normal
Growing Uptown is an update of the year 2000 downtown renewal plan, by the same planning team, but also expands the "Uptown" footrpint to conver the economic benefits of Uptown sout of the railroad tracks. This area is served by the Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak which is the second busiest station outside of Chicago. The plan focuses on overcoing the barrier of the rail lines for people coming to the train station to reach development south of Uptown and Uptown Circle. This update switched a process that was underway for creating an overpass after a survey of the community revealed a preference for an underpass to make it easier for passengers with luggage and bicyclists. A civic plaza is proposed on the north and a park to south.
This plan created a vision for Uptown South which is approximately 9.3 acres of town-owned property with scattered buildings of mixed-use and residential, which was determined after a targeted housing study and commercial analysis. The proposed 1.2 acre park connects the existing open space to a popular bicycle trail and is convenient to pedestrians utilyzing the underpass beneath the tracks. Included in the plan is a relcoated library, approximately 900 townhomes and multi-family apartments, 14,000 square of retail space, 110,000 square feet of office space, and 20,000 square feet of grocery use, This project is registered under the Living Community Challenge which requires both net-positive energy and water systems onsite. The area has also been designed to acheive the LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.
Highights of the plan include promoting the neighborhood to be compact, pedestrian friendly, and mixed use, redesigning one-way cuplets into two-way streets to improve circulation and connections of the street network, and proposing appropriate building densities and land uses within walking distance of transit. The plan also proposes embedding civic, institutional and commercial activity within the neighborhood fabric rather than as a single-use complex. A challenge proposed for each building is to conserve and produce renewable energy wherever possible by meeting the Living Building Challenge.