Perhaps you’ve noticed the colorful blue and green #WhyBN logos in The Pantagraph, on Pantagraph.com and on The Pantagraph’s Facebook page.

Curious about what it means?

#WhyBN is a call to action for our residents and businesses. It asks for your story about why you like living in Bloomington-Normal. Is it the diverse local food scene? The vitality of living in a university community? The 37 miles of recreational trails?

“Bloomington-Normal has so much to offer,” says Michelle Pazar, Pantagraph president and publisher. “I came here from Cordova, Illinois, to attend Illinois State University and I never left after I graduated. I fell in love with the culture, the opportunities, the community. I never thought I would call Bloomington-Normal my home until I attended ISU and saw all we have to offer. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

McLean County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Charlie Moore couldn't agree more.

"Lifelong residents with a deep family heritage, transplanted families who chose to relocate, and even students coming from across the globe; everyone has a reason they’ve made McLean County home," said Moore. "Why?  Because Bloomington-Normal exudes traditional Midwestern values, providing a comforting and safe environment that caters to its citizens from youth to seniors."

Moore added, "Yet, it’s noticeable that our community spirit at times can become muffled with negative overtones usually stemming from differing political perspectives and agendas. Truth be told, this has become a societal norm and could be said of almost any community almost anywhere."

So, the #WhyBN campaign is a way to "tell the world" what sets the community apart as a great place to live, raise a family, start a business, build a career and enjoy life, he said. 

Bloomington Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus has only been here a couple of months, but he's thoroughly impressed by what he's seen in the community — and the people he's met so far.

"I’d worked my entire professional career in my hometown (Decatur), so I wasn’t sure what to expect starting in a new place," said Tyus. "I know that every community has its issues, but I'm amazed that, to a person, I've heard nothing but positive things about Bloomington and how much my family will love living here, which is rare for any city or town. I feel that people genuinely want to help us to get acclimated and the incredible welcome that we’ve received says a lot about the spirit of this community."

As interim CEO of the Economic Development Council, Mike O'Grady extols the vibrancy of the Twin City community every chance he gets.

"We are a gem on the prairie, here in the center of the state and the center of the country. So many communities want the location, education and training that we have," said O'Grady. "We are not just an insurance and financial community, although we are a world leader in that capacity. We have opportunity to grow our innovation in manufacturing, technology, agriculture and automotive."

Everyone has their own #WhyBN story, whether it's the place you decided to raise your family or the place where you decided to start your career. 

We want to hear your stories, share your pictures, and tell the world why Bloomington-Normal is such a great place to live and work.

Do it today. Visit our @PantagraphWhyBN Facebook page and let us know what you love about Bloomington-Normal. To help prime the pump, we'll randomly draw one winner from everyone who posts on our page from today through April 21 to win a $50 gift card. 

And check out our web page at bit.ly/PantagraphWhyBN.

This will be an ongoing campaign that will grow and change as we celebrate wins and tap into the community's innovation and diversity. It’s an organic effort to help harness the power of our people and businesses, align our vision and present a unified front.

Speaking of fronts, you also might have noticed that we've added #WhyBN to the front page of The Pantagraph. That’s how seriously we are taking our role in keeping McLean County competitive. The best brand ambassadors are you. And nobody can share your stories like we can. Let’s work together to build and spread the good news about Bloomington-Normal.

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