Champaign City Council approves preliminary plans for Green Street construction

Green Street will experience a third phase of the Green Street Streetscape Project starting in March 2016.

The Champaign City Council unanimously approved the preliminary design contract among a group of companies: Clark Dietz, the Roderick Group, Site Design Group, Ltd. and Engineering Resources International.

This phase will be broken into two parts. The first development will be from First Street to Fourth Street, and the second will be from Fourth Street to Neil Street.

T.J. Blakeman, city planner, said the estimated cost for the project is $7 million, but the project has seen $60 to $70 million in re-investment since it began 10 years ago, and it has “another $80 million on the table right now.”

“I think that this is remarkable for a city like Champaign to have that kind of investment and that kind of density along one central corridor,” Blakeman said.

Robert Sit is the project manager at Site Design Group, Ltd. working on the project. Sit said they are one of the most awarded landscape firms in Illinois with over 25 years of experience.

“We have over 15 years of experience working with universities,” Sit said. “Right now, we’re working with the University of Illinois down here in Champaign on the Ikenberry Commons.”

Sit has been working on a sustainability project in Chicago and hopes to incorporate it into the design for Green Street.

Council member Vic McIntosh, District 3, said he looks forward to working on Neil Street after the project’s completion. He said he would like to see I-74 exit onto Prospect Avenue instead of Lincoln Avenue, as a gateway to the University.

The project will be funded by food and beverage funds and property owner contributions, the same funding model from phases I and II. In these phases, improvements were made to Green Street from Fourth to Wright streets, and Sixth Street from Healey to John streets.

However, council member Paul Faraci, District 5, said he would not approve a special service area — a geographically defined district that allows for additional property tax assessments to be assigned to property owners within the district, according to a report to the council from City Manager Dorothy David.

“I would support this (project), but I would not support the SSA, and I would like to have further discussions,” Faraci said.

Taylor can be reached at [email protected]