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Concerns raised that wrong information influenced Normal Council vote supporting fitness court


Rosa Parks Commons on Raab Road in Normal
Rosa Parks Commons on Raab Road in Normal(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 11:32 PM CST
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NORMAL (HEART OF ILLINOIS ABC) - A Normal Town Council member is indicating he’ll request another council vote on a proposed $180,000 outdoor fitness center because town staffers gave him wrong information in which he based his vote earlier this month.

The council at its January 4 meeting voted 4-2 to work with the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) to build the fitness court near the Constitution Trail on Raab Road at the Rosa Park Commons.

From the Town of Normal and the National Fitness Campaign
From the Town of Normal and the National Fitness Campaign(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)

Scott Preston voted with the majority after City Manager Pam Reece and Parks and Recreation Director Doug Damery reassured him the NFC is a non-profit organization, which is not true.

At Monday night’s council meeting, Preston joined Kathleen Lorenz and Stan Nord in a failed effort to discuss the matter, but the town’s attorney advised Preston the council can take up the matter and perhaps rescind the vote at a future council meeting.

Nord said the vote was made on “materially false” information, but Mayor Chris Koos quieted Nord, declaring the comments were out of order.

Council member Kevin McCarthy said the meeting’s video shows town staffers did not intentionally mislead the council.

“There was no intentionality behind misleading or any other of the salacious words that have been thrown around,” said McCarthy.

“It’s unfortunate that we have someone trying to cast dispersion about this when the public evidence is so clear,” McCarthy added.

The town would receive a $25,000 grant from the fitness campaign to offset the cost. The group also pledged to help the town government attract sponsors to further reduce the price.

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