Council addresses UI, smoking issues

By Jonathan Jacobson

A group of gift-bearing children waited patiently for the Urbana City Council to commence its meeting early Tuesday evening.

“The kids have worked really hard on a project they want to give to you,” said Paul Luu, program director of the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club.

Luu assisted all of the students in presenting each member of the council with a flower in a pot. On each one was painted, semi-legibly, the words, “Thank you for helping us grow.”

The Boys and Girls Club, though, is not the only group that has been growing lately. The city of Urbana has also been developing rapidly in the past few months.

Bruce Walden, chief administrative officer of Urbana, presented the council with last month’s economic report.

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“Things continue to be pretty hot in Urbana,” he said.

The city is also spearheading an effort to confront smoking issues both in Urbana and Champaign. They are planning a gathering that will include citizens from Champaign, Urbana, and neighboring cities.

The effort has been strongly encouraged by the C-U Smoke Free Alliance and its vocal members.

“We never envisioned it any differently,” said Scott Hays, president of the alliance.

The council also addressed issues it has had with the University.

“The city would like to have a stronger bond with the University on communication issues,” said Council Member Dennis Roberts (Ward 5).

The city has been trying to formalize meetings with the University, but has decided not to make any official plans.

The council has also been planning to purchase the local water company, Illinois American, but is currently facing legal problems with the acquisition.

“The owners of the company are located in Europe or who knows where,” said Mayor Laurel Prussing.

The parent company of Illinois American, RWE, has shifted ownership multiple times and Prussing is concerned that those changes have affected water service.

“Every time this happens, we have problems here,” Prussing said.