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Normal dubbed 8th fastest growing city

In a recent list compiled by NerdWallet Finance, the city of Normal has been ranked eighth among the top 10 fastest growing cities in Illinois.

Chicago Heights was officially named the fastest growing city in the state, with Melrose Park, Champaign, Woodstock, Rolling Meadows, Berwyn, South Holland, Normal, Glen Ellyn and Des Plaines following behind, making up the top 10 of all 119 cities.

The numbers were based on factors such as population, employment and income growth. Normal had a 4.5 percent population growth between the years 2009 to 2012, with incomes in the city growing by 7.8 percent.

Mayor of Normal Chris Koos pointed out Normal’s central location that helps make it attractive to many people, also noting the easy access there is to transportation within the area.

“There are three highways in Normal [that make it easy for people to access],” he said.

NerdWallet also noted a big change in Normal in regards to utilizing federal transportation money and private investment.

With Uptown Normal having been built, this area helps give residents and visitors easy access to “a centralized transportation hub,” according to NerdWallet.

In addition to that, Uptown has countless stores and restaurants that keeps it a central spot for people to go.

Maggie Miley’s, The Rock Restaurant, Emack and Bolio’s and the Coffee Hound are hot spots in Uptown with continually good business.

Uptown is also home to the Children’s Discovery Museum, which was founded in 1988 and opened to a highly positive reaction from the public in March 1994.

Another draw of the city is the extensive amount of professional opportunities it has to offer.

“There is a highly educated workforce — there’s ISU, Country Financial, State Farm, BroMenn Hospital — people see that there are good jobs and as a highly trained workforce,” Koos explained.

The researchers also took ISU into account — 3,251 people have jobs working at the university, which makes it the second-largest employer in the area.

Employment growth for Normal between 2009 and 2012 came in at an overall 2.2 percent. Normal’s overall growth score was 45.0 percent.

While Normal ranked in eighth place, its twin city lagged a little further behind.

The city of Bloomington came in at No. 21 on NerdWallet Finance’s list.

This is due to Bloomington’s population, income and employment scores.

The city saw a 3.9 percent working-age population growth, a 0.3 percent employment growth and a 5.6 percent median income growth in 2009-2012, with an overall growth score of 40.9 percent.

“[Normal] has become a more progressive community,” Koos said. “With Uptown renewal and improvements being made on Main Street and ISU, people like what they see. It has a positive impact.”

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