Champaign supports plan to control flooding

By Patrick Wade

The Champaign City Council unanimously supported a Copper Slough redevelopment plan Tuesday night to control flooding and erosion in the channel. The channel runs roughly from Windsor Road north to Interstate 74.

“In the older areas, we’ve had some flooding problems that we’re trying to take care of,” said Alex Nagy, civil engineer II for the city. “(Also,) channel erosion issues, the channel is washing away.”

The redevelopment project is expected to cost $25.9 million and will be completed in three phases.

Nagy said he does not expect any work to begin for another 10 to 15 years “on the current budget levels.”

Because of the high price tag, the Champaign Public Works Department outlined some possible sources of funding for the project. The city will look to share costs with developers in the area and receive low-interest loans and grants.

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The city could also increase sales tax and create a storm water utility fee, a move Nagy said could burden Champaign residents.

“If (residents) are buying things, yes, its additional sales tax for whatever they purchase,” Nagy said. “But if they’re not purchasing within the city, it wouldn’t be a burden on them necessarily.”

The project will include deepening and widening the channel in some areas to increase the channel’s capacity.

Flood shelving will also be added to prevent flooding in particularly large storms.

The flood shelves will also provide access routes for maintenance staff and will hold shrubs to reinforce channel walls.

Retaining walls will be added in areas that are eroding and put adjacent buildings at risk.

The channel will also be rerouted and separated from Windsor Road.

Currently, the channel runs very close to the edge of the road, posing a threat to motorists and deterring future widening of the road.

City staff is working with the Champaign Park District, which owns the land, to develop a final plan for the Copper Slough.

The plan will be submitted to the council in the future for formal approval.

Champaign City Council

The next council meeting will be at the Champaign City Council Chambers, 102 N. Neil St., on Tuesday, April 3. Visit for more information.