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Bloomington-Normal developer known for growing cities dies at 90

BLOOMINGTON (WJBC) — Two former Twin-City mayors who presided over the economic boom of the 1980s and 1990s agree that local developer Jack Snyder was one of the community’s most powerful people.

Snyder died Thursday at age 90.

“I am so proud to have been involved with Jack in so many of his projects,” said former Bloomington Mayor Jesse Smart.

Smart said Snyder’s power stemmed from his ability to come up with projects that were really needed and secure the capital necessary to make them happen.

In Snyder’s obituary, he’s credited with developing “over 20 percent of the land area of Bloomington-Normal.”

Former Normal Paul Harmon noted that Snyder was responsible for building Ironwood Subdivision and Golf Course, which Harmon said was key to Normal’s northward expansion.

“It might not compare to some of the things on the east side of Bloomington today, but at the time, it was considered very upscale,” said Harmon.

“It still is a very, very nice subdivision. It was not only the fact that it was an upscale subdivision, but it was massive,” said Harmon, who was Normal’s mayor from 1985 to 1993.

Harmon said Snyder lived up to agreements he made with local governments.

One of Snyder’s projects that did not happen was demolition of the historic south block of the courthouse square in Downtown Bloomington that would have paved the way for commercial buildings, a parking garage, and green space. The city council narrowly defeated that proposal.

Snyder was developer of a commercial building on the east side of the courthouse square that replaced the Unity Building, which was destroyed by fire in 1988. The Bloomington Pantagraph now occupies part of the newer building.

Smart said Snyder doesn’t get the credit he deserves for building subdivisions at a time when Bloomington-Normal needed new housing.

“Drive around and look. He built a majority of them,” said Smart.

He said Snyder had a great personality and built “great developments.”

A memorial service for Jack Snyder will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church in Bloomington. There will be no visitation. Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home is in charge of arrangements.

Photo courtesy of Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home

Drew Veskauf

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