People gather in front of Uptown Station in Normal (Photo by B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Pamela Sweetwood
I love the changes in Uptown Normal.
The town has created something beautiful, vibrant and progressive. It was major to acquire funding for the transit center. Centralizing train, bus, cabs, into one location amplifies those services. Relocating City Hall from its cramped, dated, and limiting location was a bonus.
The outside is gorgeous. Oddly, I did not see the inside until this past week. The first floor is spacious, clean and modern – such a far cry from the previous Amtrak station. It was relatively quiet when I stopped by on a Sunday night. Those waiting were enjoying a football game on the TVs. It is apropos there is a Subway restaurant offering a healthy meal choice any time of the day – unlike our airport.
Something seems overlooked. Nowhere did I see the community information I hoped to collect – no convention and visitor booklets, pamphlets for local sight-seeing destinations, bus maps, or a posted bus map. Regional bus maps were at a counter and I know BNPTS bus maps arrived shortly after my visit.
A transit center is the point of welcome to those unfamiliar to our community. And often with traveling, you spend money at restaurants, hotels, and activities. I did not spot items posted or for distribution – only screens at two entry ways with weather and building information. Uptown Normal maps would be extremely helpful to let visitors know of options within walking distance. If these items are available at city hall, visitors are not seeing it and like me, did not have access after 5.
What a missed opportunity everyday to promote our wonderful community. It could be as simple a few literature displays and some framed poster-sized displays or stands to promote special events in Bloomington or Normal such as ISU’s Homecoming or the Cemetery Walk – which applies to residents too. I’m not suggesting commercialism or tacky advertising, merely community information presented tastefully.
I am fairly confident this will be rectified, plans may already exist. The transit center opened in July and was much anticipated. A small investment could really boost the immediate Uptown area and the community at large.
This is Pamela Sweetwood for WJBC's Forum.
Pamela Sweetwood was an ISU student, like many, who never left town. She works in higher education and has a history with many community non-profits organizations.
The opinions expressed within WJBC’s Forum are solely those of the Forum’s author, and are not necessarily those of WJBC or Cumlus Media, Inc.