|Mayor Koos discusses points of Uptown Normal development|
|Written by Sakura Robles, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 21 October 2009 20:10|
Chris Koos, mayor for the town of Normal, spoke at the Caterpillar Auditorium in the College of Business building yesterday evening, about his experiences in leading a community in the public sector for Normal, Ill. The event was hosted by the Organizational Leadership Club of ISU.
“I am a person who has always been involved in my community,” Koos said. “...I firmly believe you do not move to a great community or live in a great community, but you live to make the community great.”
Koos focused in on a case study of leadership, specifically about the Uptown Normal Renewal Plan, which is a plan currently in progress to revolutionize Uptown Normal and what is going to be a part of it in the future.
Koos discussed public involvement with the plan and how it is essential to the community.
“What sparked the Uptown Normal renewal plan was public involvement,” Koos said. “We noticed this very early on and people came drawing maps of what they wanted to see happening [with the renewal plan]...this project is very key as a part of Illinois State University.
“Not only as a student attending Illinois State and what this does for you, but for people or students coming into the community or university...We want the public to see we have their best interest in mind....This is a classic example of being in the public sector.”
Koos briefly broke down the costs and benefits of the renewal plan, to educate the students attending about the kinds of economic difficulties being in the public sector encounters, and different plans for the future of Uptown Normal, such as a brand-new transportation center currently in progress, and having more tress and greenery in Normal.
He discussed a new residential area, from condominiums to apartment complexes, currently in production for the Uptown Normal area as well.
“We want to see an 18 to 20 hour day in Uptown Normal, meaning we want to see people there from very early in the morning to late at night, constantly occupying the area,” Koos said.
“...Having a residential area is key and essential for that.”
Koos also stressed the importance of having local businesses in Uptown Normal, and how they are helped to improve their building quality, such as local bars and restaurants.
“For a truly unique experience in an uptown area, there should be 75 percent local businesses,” Koos said. “We work with the local businesses to help them with facade improvements, and grants to help them expand...”
President of Organizational Leader Club, Michael J. Carroll, expressed the importance of having Koos come speak at ISU.
“Organizational Leadership Club consists of business students who constantly hear how to be influential and manage their career and work environment,” he said. “We [OLC] decided to organize this lecture because we feel students should learn how to be a leader in their community.”
Carroll added, “Everyday we see the innovations and excellence Mayor Koos provides for our town, it is especially apparent in the revitalization of the Central Business District. We appreciate Mayor Koos coming to the College of Business and we would like to thank him for contributing to our futures.”
In conjunction with the Uptown Normal Renewal Plan, Koos has been involved with many development plans in the town of Normal area, such as the Youth Crime Intervention Program, Children’s Discovery Museum, economic development, transportation center funding, and infrastructure improvements.
Koos began his term as Mayor of Normal in February 2000 and was reelected in April 2005. He has also served in the Normal Town Council since April 2000.