Champaign discusses upgrades to Campustown

By Eric Heisig

Part of Campustown may soon be getting a makeover in order to become more developed and pedestrian-friendly.

The Champaign City Council gave instructions Tuesday night to move forward with a plan to work on Green Street. Since Green Street between Wright and Fourth streets has been worked on extensively in the past few years, the plan will, among other items, address the area from Fourth to First streets.

The University District Action plan is designed to make Campustown a place for visitors to enjoy, in addition to building a good city for the University to be a part of.

The plan is designed to attract more businesses to also make Campustown a place where students can do all their shopping, and not have to go to downtown Champaign.

One of the issues the Council addressed during the discussion was the issue of parking.

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“This area will not develop the same way the area from Fourth to Wright did if there is not parking on-site,” said Ken Pirok, District 5 council member.

Still, others wanted to reduce the amount of parking in Campustown.

“I would like to see the area on Green Street be a pedestrian-first area,” said Tom Bruno, council member at-large.

The Council also discussed a plan to put recycling bins up and down Green Street, in order to encourage patrons to reduce the amount of trash in the area.

Even though the area between Fourth and First streets is scheduled to be changed, the existing stores and restaurants, many of which have been there for many years, will not be forced out to make room for newer stores.

“The City does not take a proactive stance,” said Rob Kowalski, assistant planner for the City of Champaign. “Things like that usually happen on their own.”

The Office of the Chancellor thanked the City for all the work they did on the project. However, they asked the council to address a few issues included in the plan.

“It seems to us that this is an opportune time to look what laws are there for drugs and alcohol,” said Becky Rawles, representative for the Office of the Chancellor. “The Chancellor would like to have these items on the agenda for a discussion.”