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NORMAL — The Normal City Council on Tuesday approved installation of a traffic signal to help pedestrians safely cross busy Airport Road at Shepard Road.

Councilman Scott Preston questioned the reason for the $285,850 signal when traffic is light a majority of the time.

"It's primarily driven by a need to cross pedestrians safely from the Vineyards and Sunset Lake subdivisions," said Gene Brown, town engineer.

Many children from both subdivisions attend Grove Elementary School, which is on the other side of five-lane Airport Road.

While Preston said he wanted children to have "the safest opportunity" to get to the school, he questioned whether they would walk all the way to a signaled crosswalk or cross in the middle of the street where the school is located.

City Manager Mark Peterson said the town looked at putting a pedestrian crossing at the school but it is a very congested when parents are dropping off or picking up their children. 

Brown said the signal will have controls for different times and days of the week to ensure there is no traffic buildup on Airport Road.

In another matter, the council also approved buying 1001 Franklin Ave., subdividing it into two lots and giving the property to Habitat for Humanity of McLean County for development. The property has had numerous property maintenance issues.

The town will use Community Development Block Grant money to purchase the property for $35,000 and cover the $12,000 cost to divide the lot and extend utilities to the properties. 

Prior to the meeting, the town and representatives from Illinois State University were given awards for the runner-up status of the town-owned water tank on Main Street near University High School. The recently painted tank includes the ISU logo.

It was among hundreds entered into the Tenmec Tank of the Year contest and ended up placing in the top 12. That status also earned it a place in Tenmec's 2015 calendar, for the month of March.

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