NORMAL — Thirty-six years later, Jeff Fritzen still remembers how he struggled as a 30-something Normal City Council novice.

"In one of my first meetings, I moved to not approve an ordinance or a resolution that was on our agenda because I intended to vote against it. ... Not being up on Robert's Rules of Order, I did the wrong thing, and everybody just kind of looked at me," he said with a laugh. "For the newbies in the audience tonight, don't do that." 

Fritzen and the council looked back Monday at his 32 years of service and R.C. McBride's four years before they leave the council this month.

"You have been selfless in your service to the community. You've been a champion to the community," said Mayor Chris Koos of Fritzen, with whom he has served for 16 years. "All I can say is, 'Thank you. Thank you for serving so well. Thank you for being an example to the rest of us.'"

Fritzen said he hopes the council will continue to "disagree without being disagreeable" — something he felt was lacking in the last two elections.

"The last two municipal elections have gone a direction I hoped they'd never go. They've become somewhat partisan. ... In today's environment people make up their own facts," he said. "That would be my hope, that we return to that (tradition). Normal's too great a place to allow anything else to guide it."

Koos said he hopes to hear more from both of them after their council terms.

"It's been a great run, and it's the people at the end of the day that make it so," said McBride. "I'm very proud of the work that we've all done together."

In other business, the council:

• Noted an agreement with Start Up Box to rent town-owned space at 305 S. Linden St. was pulled from the agenda. Mayor Chris Koos said the item needs more work before approval.

Nord and Smith spoke against the proposal Monday. They take office May 6.

• Approved an amended annexation agreement for Blackstone Trails, the site of a future Normal fire station.

Residents, who rallied against the proposal in late 2018 and early 2019, asked the council again to look elsewhere for a new fire station location. Kathleen Lorenz and Scott Preston, who voted against the proposal when it was approved Jan. 23, did so again Monday.

• Approved plans for Constitution Trail Centre, where a Home2 Suites hotel is planned; College Plaza, where a restaurant space is planned; and The Park at Constitution Trail Centre, a new apartment complex.

Koos noted the town has not offered any incentives for the Home2 project.

"At no time during the process ... has staff or this council had any interest in providing incentive for that property," said Koos. "This is a purely clean private development."

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Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh


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