Champaign City Council agrees to give $89,000 to nonprofit groups, launches redesigned website

Champaign City Council convened Tuesday night to discuss a number of resolutions including one concerning an intergovernmental agreement with the University.

The University has traditionally given money to nonprofit groups including the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation and 40 North/88West, Inc.

Council member Michael LaDue, of District 2, said the University has given money to these organizations because they stimulate development and encourage people to come to the Champaign-Urbana area.

However, because of new purchasing policies, the University can no longer directly award the money, said Terri Legner, Champaign economic development manager.

The city agreed to annually distribute the monetary awards to the different organizations on behalf of the university.

In other words, each of the nonprofit groups will still be receiving university money; it will just be distributed by the city, said Legner. The money the university provides to each of the organizations is used for specific purposes within each group including promoting local businesses, supporting local arts organizations and providing services to local start-up companies, among other things.

The university will give $7,000 each to Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and 40 North/88West, Inc.

The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation will receive $75,000, making the University’s contribution to local nonprofit organizations a total of $89,000.

The agreement was approved by the council and will be valid for three years.

In addition to this agreement with the university, the council also discussed the launch of their newly developed website.

City Manager Steve Carter said that the new website was developed to encourage transparency within the city.

Paul Kaiser, city Webmaster, said that before its redesign the website wasn’t always very accessible or up-to-date.

Kaiser said part of the problem was that there were only two or three trained city staff members who knew how to update the website.

He added that there are now 30 members from different departments in the city who know how to update the website.

Kaiser said with a variety of people trained to update the site, out-of-date information can be kept at bay.

“Now it’s their baby and they can keep it updated as they need to,” Kaiser said.

The website currently gets around 1,200 to 1,300 hits every day, he added.

The website will debut at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.