Council denies Urban League request for property

By Eric Heisig

The Champaign City Council elected Tuesday night to not give the Urban League of Champaign County the property at 208 N. First St., despite its proposal and numerous supporters.

There were six proposals brought to the Council for the property, once occupied by the Lone Star Lodge. The Council voted 7-0 to sell the property to Pekara Bakery and Bistro for $225,000.

The Urban League had asked for the property to be donated,

“We have an incredible opportunity in front of us,” said Sandi Jones before the vote, chairman of the board for the Urban League.

The Council decided to give it to the highest bidder because the city has lost money on the property in the past, with the Lone Star Lodge defaulting on its loan.

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The Council also made its decision due to problems the Urban League has had internally and said those issues need to be resolved. They said that First Street needs to have a business present in order to help growth in the area.

Still, the Council said this decision in no way reflects their view towards the Urban League.

“We have backed the Urban League for a while, there are just some unanswered questions that need to be addressed first,” said Mayor Gerald Schweighart.