NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Town of Normal’s Director of Engineering Ryan Otto said the goal of Wednesday’s public meeting was to gain input on amenities people would like to see in the design of the town’s underpass project, and feedback on the overall design itself.

Otto said feedback from Wednesday’s meeting will help them get to 60% design completion by March 31.

“Once we get to 60%, go out to our partners at IDOT, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC,) and the Federal Rail Administration, who has provided $13 million through a Build grant for the project,” said Otto.

Those groups will review the project, the town will then take comments from that review and continue the design, with a goal of bidding on the project early next year.

Otto said the project will provide safe, more convenient access for pedestrians looking to get from Uptown North to Uptown South, and vice versa.

“Right now people, if they wanna get to the south side of the tracks, especially from Uptown Station, to access the south platform for the Amtrak trains, folks have to go to either Broadway to the west, or Linden to the east, that also can be blocked at times,” said Otto.

Mayor Chris Koos said having access to Uptown South could also have a positive economic impact on Uptown Normal.

“If we’re gonna develop, we can’t have that strong physical barrier of the railroad, we just never thought that the south side would thrive if it didn’t have a better connection,” said Koos.

Mayor Koos said town leaders see a mix of options for the development of Uptown South.

He said there’s a demand for non-student multi-family housing, and the area has also been a site plan for a new library, which he believes could work with the Children’s Discovery Museum, to provide children’s programming to the community.

He said those discussions will be saved for the future.