NORMAL — Town council and staff members denounced the murder of George Floyd and called for action to address systemic racism during Normal City Council's meeting Monday night.
“We cannot become numb to the murders of black people who have not been convicted of any offense other than being black in America by police officers who continue to perpetuate these murders, most without facing criminal charges let alone convictions for their actions,” Janessa Williams, chair of Normal's Human Relations Commission, said during the meeting.
"Protest rallies, marches and community dialogues and all those things are nice, but without actionable and transparent plans with measurable outcomes, nothing really changes."
Councilwoman Chemberly Cummings issued a statement during the meeting's closing comments, addressing many issues plaguing black communities, such as food deserts, income inequality and access to health care.
"The reality is that even if citizens are changed, until the matters of the heart are adjusted without self-interest involved, we will forever be in a state of war against racism," she said.
Williams commended the Normal Police Department for its commitment to teaching officers deescalation techniques and congratulated the Bloomington-Normal NAACP for organizing a peaceful protest Sunday evening (an earlier version of this story mistakenly identified Black Lives Matter Bloomington-Normal as organizing the protest)
In other business, council approved 7-0 a development agreement for the former Wildwood Industries property at the intersection of North Main Street and Kerrick Road.
Phoenix JCR Normal Industrial Investors, LLC, identified five potential prospects for the Wildwood property, which will include an approximately $16 million investment for acquiring, renovating, improving and leasing the existing facility for warehouse and distribution purposes.
The completed project is expected to create around 50 jobs.
The 68.9-acre Wildwood property is on the southeast corner of North Main Street and Kerrick Road and contains an unfinished 500,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution building. Construction of the warehouse began in November 2007 and stopped in October 2008.
Under the expansion, the Hudson Fire Protection District will pay the town $225,000 for services in the first year, with a 3% increase in the second and third years. The town will provide EMS service 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Fire Chief Mick Humer told the council the expansion would include an additional 100 calls per year and would have little impact on NFD operations. The department responded to 5,446 ambulance calls in 2019, and has three paramedic-level ambulances, two advanced life support engine companies and one basic life support engine company.
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Contact Sierra Henry at 309-820-3234. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_sierrahenry.
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