Curtis Road interchange hoped to foster commercial growth

By Eric Heisig

Since the Curtis Road and I-57 interchange has opened, city planners hope new business opportunities will follow traffic to the area.

The area, while owned by the city of Champaign, is mainly part of the village of Savoy. Its proximity to the highway has made the area prime real estate for more businesses to be successful.

The city of Champaign and the village of Savoy have been working on a plan to bring businesses to the area for some time, even though nothing is completely hammered out yet.

“Right now, we are starting to lay out where we think we are going to grow,” said Champaign City Planner Lacey Rains. “We have identified it as a study area, but there will be no development until we are able to complete a master plan.”

Rains said the master plan has been in the works since 2006 and there currently have been no developers or people coming forward to formally offer to do things with parts of the area. She added that after the plan is completed by the planning department, it is then taken to the next step and to be codified and passed by the city council so the plan can be put into action.

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Still, much of the land surrounding the interchange is owned by people and organizations other than Champaign, Rains said, and while nothing is set in stone to buy any of that land, there is always the possibility of the city obtaining it.

Savoy Village Manager Richard Helton said that the area will definitely help any development the village of Savoy, whose jurisdiction lies east of Mattis Avenue, will have in the coming years.

“As we look at that corridor, you can see a lot of commercial development that could take place,” Helton said. “I think they’ll complement one another very well as they develop.”

Helton said the area is prime for many types of commercial uses, including retail, clothing and shoe stores, and department stores such as Target or Kohl’s.