Green Street festival offers locals savings

Susan Kantor

Susan Kantor

By Eric Heisig

Tumble weeds aren’t rolling through the streets of Campustown, but local businesses are nevertheless taking proactive measures to increase foot traffic during the summer months. The first Campustown Streetfest will descend upon Green Street on Saturday in hopes of showing Champaign-Urbana residents what the area has to offer when students aren’t as abundant.

The festival, which stretches to the blocks surrounding Green Street between Wright and Fourth streets, was crafted by the Campustown Business Group, chaired by Cold Stone Creamery franchise owner Eric Bussell.

“Campustown has developed significantly over the past decade,” Bussell said. “We want to reintroduce Campustown to the community. It’s your town. You may think it’s only for students, but its unique and diverse attractions are for everyone.”

Justin Katz, branch manager for National City Bank and a member of the Campustown Business Group, said that business becomes slow during the summer because the perception is that Campustown is only for the students. The street festival aims to change that.

Throughout the day, more than 30 businesses plan to participate in the festival, offering various specials and promotions. There will also be activities going on for families, said Jessica Poynter, banking center manager for Busey Bank and a member of the business group.

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“It is just something to get the families here,” Katz said. “We are going to be getting the fire trucks in here, some bands and things for people of all ages.”

One of the motivating factors behind creating the Campustown Streetfest is to raise awareness of how accessible the area is, said Karen Foster, Champaign City Council member At-Large.

“They want people to know there is parking on campus,” Foster said. “It may not be on Green (Street), but there are parking lots in the area.”

In addition, this is a way for the city of Champaign to show off the streetscape work the city has been doing on for some time, Foster said.

The streetfest is primarily being marketed as a family event, though, and Champaign Police Department Deputy Chief Holly Nearing said there will be no alcohol allowed outside of bars or other usual alcohol environments.

The Campustown Streetfest will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday and end at dusk. Green Street, between Wright and Fifth streets, will be closed off to traffic.