City Council approves grant to improve youth-based programs

By Eric Heisig

The Champaign City Council unanimously voted to execute a grant with various nonprofit agencies for the Garden Hills Youth Pilot Program Monday night. The plan is a part of the Neighborhood Improvement Initiative.

The city will allocate more than $110,000 toward programs for the area, which includes a collaboration between the city of Champaign, the Champaign Park District and the Champaign’s Unit 4 school district.

“I think it’s great to see how far this program has come,” said Dist. 3 Council member Vic McIntosh. “It’s great that there is a team going in trying to correct a lot of the problems in the area.”

McIntosh said the program grew from an idea proposed to him during a ride along with Champaign Police Sgt, David Griffet.

“I asked him, ‘What do you think we need to do?’ and he said, ‘We need to find things for the youth to do,'” he said.

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During the discussion, Council members commented several times about how far the program has come since this original idea. A similar concept may expand to other parts of the city as well if it proves successful.

“I hope that we can use this kind of program in other parts of the city,” said Mayor Gerald Schweighart. “Once it is developed, we can continue to help other areas.”

Champaign City Council meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the City Building.