Council celebrates two projects that help community

The beginning of the Champaign City Council meeting Tuesday included a special recognition of two projects of the city.

The first project was a 14-minute DVD called “C-U Sharing the Road.” The purpose of the video is to educate the public about safety prospects and how buses, cars and bicycles in Champaign-Urbana work together to share the road.

Bill Gray from the American Public Works Association spoke on the behalf of the project.

“I really appreciate the cooperation between the two cities for this project. I encourage everyone to watch the video on YouTube if they have not seen it,” he said.

The second recognition was for the Curtis Road Improvement Project, which won “Project of the Year 2011 — Transportation” from the American Public Works Association. The recognition was for the work of the city council on the roadway improvements on Curtis Road, which included upgrading the cement, improving traffic signals, landscaping and improving drainage.

The major news at the meeting was focused around a bill that approved an agreement for summer youth employment services and funding with the Champaign Unit 4 School District.

The program was funded with almost $200,000 out of the Urban Renewal Fund. Although there was some criticism for taking money from a fund that is created for the poor community, the response has been positive.

Craig Walker, resident of Champaign, expressed his enthusiasm for the program.

“This was a lot of work (in a) short period of time. There are about 150 kids involved and there is a lot of excitement that kids have jobs and can achieve the American (dream). … Good things can happen, even in a hurry,” Walker said.

Council member at-large Deborah Frank Feinen addressed the opposition to the program.

“This is not general revenue; it is coming out of urban renewal funds. It came from the Bristol Park fund. We would rather use this money today to impact youth in communities. We don’t have money to be creating new programs, but we were able to find a way to support a program that will hopefully make a big impact,” she said.

Thomas Bruno, council member at-large, added, “This fund was set up to assist people in need. It is destined to be in use for the disadvantaged community.”