People gather in front of Uptown Station in Normal. (Photo by B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Dan Irvin
I had business visitors in town last week. I like to report to you on what about our little burg amazes the aliens.
Anyway these folks were from Washington, D.C., and L.A. I think the first thing they will relate to the folks back home is that the train station is amazing. They could not get over Uptown Station’s high ceilinged, sunny, common area in which passengers have the pleasure to wait.
What a contrast to dark, subterranean depots like Penn Station or Union Station or the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Waiting in Uptown Station injects one with the thrill of travel, the anticipation of what’s to come.
It occurs to me at this moment that it’s not unlike the feeling at the Central Illinois Regional Airport’s main entrance, ticketing, and departure areas. Again, high ceilings and if blessed with a sunny day, warm and radiating natural light.
It’s no secret that transportation across the country is an essential component of our abundantly prosperous life in this community. It was a pleasant stop on the pioneer’s journey west – so pleasant that many stayed and joined the warm and friendly farm folk who called it home.
The Illinois River was close enough to be useful. Geometry put us on a diagonal between Chicago and St. Louis, so the railroads passed through, again found the environment a bounteous one and set up shop here.
That same geometry put us on Route 66. So, the developing Interstate System had a natural intersection for transport and touring vehicular travel. It helped a Japanese company decide to build cars here. And countless other businesses to grow here, because I heard somewhere that data lines follow transportation routes.
Other places have the good fortune to be similarly located in spots where people must cross to get from here to there. Yet they do not succeed like we do.
I think it’s because, like those vaulted waiting rooms, our collective disposition is warm and sunny.
Let’s resolve to keep it that way.
This is Dan Irvin, on WJBC’s Forum.
Dan is Secretary of the Board of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Vice-President of the Bloomington Public Library Foundation Board, and a member of the Heartland Community College Foundation Board.
The opinions expressed within WJBC’s Forum are solely those of the Forum’s author, and are not necessarily those of WJBC or Cumulus Media, Inc.