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Parkland College announces summer construction and road closure schedule

Starting at the end of Parkland's school year (May 19th), some changes are coming to the campus' traffic pattern.

For the full run-down on what you can expect and how to plan accordingly, check out the press release (including the map) below:

Summer Road Construction, Closures at Parkland College

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College has announced that a full closure will take place on its Bradley Avenue entrance beginning Friday, May 19, lasting four weeks. Several of the school's M-wing entrances and walkways will also close temporarily during the summer due to scheduled repairs.Parkland Construction Stages


Bradley Entrance Closure

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the college's trustee board approved the resurfacing of an eastern portion of William Froom Way, the perimeter road on campus. This project necessitates the Bradley Avenue entrance closure. Access to Parkland College from the east (from Mattis Avenue via Parkland Way) and the west (from Duncan Road) will remain open.

During the resurfacing, C-U MTD buses will drop off and pick up passengers only at a location along Bradley Avenue near the construction zone; no buses will enter campus. Sidewalks between the Bradley Avenue/Clayton Drive corner and the main building will remain accessible during this project; marked pathways will guide pedestrians to the building.

Walkway/Door Closures

Parkland College also announced that access to the Staerkel Planetarium's circle drive, the M7 doors, and walkways directly south and west of the M1 parking lot will be closed for resurfacing projects starting May 1 and lasting six weeks. This project will not affect the M1 parking lot itself. Access to the Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland, Room M138, will be available during its regular operating hours.

Furthermore, starting June 19, access to the M1–M3 doors and walkways east of the M1 parking lot will be closed for resurfacing; this closure includes north and west access to the Dodds Athletic Center (gym). During most of this construction phase, the M7 doors will be accessible. This project is expected to take six to eight weeks.


Register your doggo for the 2017 Mutt Strut

The Champaign County Humane Society's 2017 Mutt Strut is next Sunday, May 7th from 4 to 7 p.m. at Crystal Lake park in Urbana. Today and tomorrow (April 28th and 29th) you can get a $5 discount on your registration by entering code rm38. Regular price registration is $25 until May 5th, and $35 day of. 

The 2017 Mutt Strut will feature beer by Triptych, doggo activities, prizes, live music, and food trucks. It's bound to be fun for the whole family, perhaps most for your furry creature. 

This event is a fundraiser for CCHS, and an important one, too. So make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines and get registered

For more info, and a list of all the activities and contests, check out the event's website


Miga announces new brunch options and cocktail menu

Everybody loves brunch. One could go even a step further and say that everyone loves brunch in Downtown Champaign, and following the below pictures from Miga, I think it's safe to say that they have established themselves as one of Champaign's brunch staples.

Last week, we revealed their brand new menu, and today, we got our hands on some exclusive new pictures, as well as a brunch cocktail menu, all of which you can view below.

Brunch at Miga happens from 11 am - 2 pm, every Sunday. The cocktail pictured below is Here Comes The Sun.


CU MTD auctioning off mixed-use building in Midtown

If there's one area of town that's set to boom in the next five years, I'd put my money on Midtown, the crucial connector between Campustown and Downtown Champaign.

The potential only increases, today, as C-U MTD have announced the auction of a nearly 12,000 square feet mixed-use building at 64 E. Chester St. in Champaign.

For more information on the building, and on the auction, check out the press release from MTD below:


Champaign, IL—The Auction Services Group, headquartered in downtown Chicago, will be conducting the sale at auction of 64 E. Chester Street, Champaign, IL on June 22, 2017.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) has ordered the auction, which will be held on the Fourth Floor of Illinois Terminal, 45 E. University Avenue in downtown Champaign, IL at 3:00 p.m.

The opening bid for the property is $200,000. “We purchased this building as a package of five buildings last year,” states MTD Managing Director Karl Gnadt, “four of the buildings border our parking lot on the east side of the tracks, one block from our Illinois Terminal facility. Logistically it
was very important to control those four buildings."

"The fifth building, 64 E. Chester, is across the street and doesn’t serve our current plans and, therefore, it’s a surplus property,” states Gnadt. “The
auction will allow users, investors and developers a unique opportunity to name their price for this well located, mixed-use property with frontage on Chester, Water and University Avenue, a main East/ West arterial street in Champaign/Urbana."

Champaign County has seen a 300% increase in multifamily housing starts with over $200,000,000 in developments in the last few years. “This has led many local and national developers to investigate all current vacant parcels near downtown Champaign,” notes Kelly T. Frank, Executive Vice President of the Auction Services Group. “The property is conveniently located in the trendy Midtown area of Champaign, one block from the Amtrak Station and is adjacent to downtown Champaign and Campustown. The property is only minutes away from I-57, I-74 & I-72.” added Frank.

The following is a brief description of the property being offered at the June 22nd auction:

64 E. Chester St., Champaign, IL is an 11,856 sq. ft., two-story, mixed-use building situated on a 5,928 sq. ft. landsite. The building was originally built in 1898 and an early occupant was Stoltey Garage, a full-service garage that provided car storage, taxi and car services and sold car accessories & supplies. Another well known occupant was Bush Brothers Inc., a family
owned and operated specialty paper supplier that began in 1931. The versatile building features a 10’ x 16’ freight elevator. The property is located within a TIF and Enterprise District
and is a great redevelopment opportunity.

Inspection dates and times to view the property are scheduled from 12:00 Noon – 2:00pm on May 17th, June 1st and June 13th, 2017.

To receive an auction brochure with the auction terms and conditions, call the Auction Services Group’s Auction Line at (312)233-8347.


Urbana Park District receives 29 acres for new park

Park lovers of Champaign-Urbana, rejoice - yesterday, it was announced that a new, 29-acre park is headed to Urbana, courtesy of a gift of land given to The Urbana Parks Foundation, and in turn, the Urbana Park District.

The new land is at the corner of High Cross Road and Windsor, and it also feels important to note that this is the largest gift that the Urbana Parks Foundation has ever received.

For more information, check out the press release below:

Urbana Parks to Grow with Land Gift

The Urbana Parks Foundation has received a gift of 29-acres of land to be developed into a new park and natural area for the Urbana Park District.  The parcel lies near the southwest corner of High Cross Road (Route 130) and Windsor Road in far southeast Urbana. 

The donors are long-time Urbana residents Nancy and Fred Delcomyn.  Both donors have deep ties to the Urbana Park District, where Nancy is the second longest-serving member of the current Board of Commissioners and Fred is president of the Urbana Parks Foundation. 

“This is a wonderful gift,” said UPD Board of Commissioners President Michael Walker. “It will expand the UPD’s natural area holdings and give us a prime park site ahead of development in the area.  In the century-plus history of the Urbana Park District, generous donors have played a vital role,” he added.  “This gift builds on that tradition and invites others to contribute to that legacy.”

“The land is likely to be developed into a park and native prairie or savanna environment,” said UPD Executive Director Tim Bartlett.   “The gift will make future development of the City of Urbana a more attractive option,” Bartlett added.  “Parks and natural areas in proximity to developed land – especially residential properties – increase land values, offer environmental protections and attract visitors from both local community and the surrounding region,” Bartlett said. 

The City of Urbana’s Director of Community Development, Elizabeth Tyler, agreed with Bartlett.  “The area immediately surrounding this site is already identified for potential residential development in our comprehensive plan,” Tyler commented.  “A park and natural area here would be easily accessible and should attract visitors from the entire region.”

The property is currently being farmed and farm operations will continue until the Park District is ready to develop the area.  The donors have directed that net income from the gift will be shared by the Park District and the Foundation, with three-quarters of the annual income being set aside for future development of the park and one-quarter going to the unrestricted use of the Foundation.

“The donors have taken a long-view of development,” noted Steve Rugg, UPF vice president, who announced the gift at the Foundation’s annual meeting on Thursday night at the Urbana Country Club.  “They have made their gift with the understanding that development may take some time.  Yet they chose to make the gift now, meaning that the revenue it will generate can be used to help cover future development costs and can also provide the Foundation with support for continued resource development.  It’s a win for everyone – for the Park District, Foundation, Urbana residents and the donors,” he emphasized.

“The donors have taken a long-view of development,” noted Steve Rugg, UPF vice president, who announced the gift at the Foundation’s annual meeting on Thursday night at the Urbana Country Club.  “They have made their gift with the understanding that development may take some time.  Yet they chose to make the gift now, meaning that the revenue it will generate can be used to help cover future development costs and can also provide the Foundation with support for continued resource development.  It’s a win for everyone – for the Park District, Foundation, Urbana residents and the donors,” he emphasized.

Rugg also noted that the gift is by far the largest received by the Foundation in its relatively short life and is among the very largest ever received by the Park District as well.  Given current farmland prices, the potential for future residential development in the surrounding area and the income stream the gift will provide until the park is developed, Rugg estimated the total value of the gift at “very close to $600,000.”

At 29 acres, the new park will be about 2.5 times the size of Blair Park or Carle Park once it is developed.  The land initially will be held by the Urbana Parks Foundation, then transferred to the Park District as soon as it is ready for development or after ten years have passed if development has not yet begun.

The Urbana Parks Foundation is the private fundraising arm of the Park District.  Created in 2007, the Foundation is separately organized as a 501(c)(3) charitable entity governed by a Board of Trustees.  The Foundation conducts an annual fund drive for the Park District and joins UPD staff and Commissioners in soliciting major gifts from individuals, corporations, and other charitable organizations.


Esquire’s awning is getting a facelift

Esquire has removed their awning temporarily as it gets repaired. They've also taken down the heaters which I was assured would be coming back up along with the awning in the next few weeks. One bartender remarked, "the building looks naked!"


C-U Climate March to take place Saturday in West Side Park

C-U marches on this Saturday in conjunction with the larger People's Climate March taking place in D.C. and around the world. The local version looks to be less of a march, more of a rally, with local speakers and opportunities to take action. See the full press release below:

Citizens of Champaign-Urbana to Join in Global Climate March

Saturday, April 29 2017
2–4 PM

West Side Park
400 W. University Ave, Champaign, IL

Champaign, IL -  Concerned citizens of the Champaign area are
gathering in West Side Park in downtown Champaign, on April 29th, from
2-4 PM, to demand action on greenhouse gas emissions and climate
issues. With three straight years of record global temperatures and
increasing dangerous weather events, the time to act on climate is
now. "It is an issue of justice," says Lan Richart of Eco-Justice
Collaborative, one of the event's speakers. "The consequences of
climate change will be felt by today’s children and the generations
that follow. One day our children’s children will ask 'What did they
do once they knew?'"

All are welcome to join in demonstrating to leaders in Illinois and
worldwide that there will be resistance to attacks on our people, our
communities and our planet. The march will be in solidarity with the
worldwide Peoples Climate Movement, which will see people around the
world gather together on April 29th to protect our climate.

The C-U march will feature inspirational speeches and calls to action
from speakers including State Representative Carol Ammons and State
Senator Scott Bennett, music by local string band Meadowhawk, and
informational tables from Prairie Rivers Network, Eco-Justice
Collaborative, and others. Marchers will be called to take a variety
of direct actions, such as purchasing solar power with Solar
Urbana-Champaign 2.0, building bee-friendly gardens with the
University of Illinois Pollinatarium, or buying compost bins from the
City of Urbana.

The Champaign-Urbana People's Climate March is sponsored by the
Prairie Group of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club and by Food
and Water Watch.

For more information contact or visit


Krannert Museum announces Art Remastered, a solo showcase

Looking for a way to support our local musicians? Well you're in luck because Krannert Art Museum has announced a one-day exhibit that will showcase their artwork and local musicians.

Throughout April, each musician visited the museum and chose a piece that they wished to respond to, musically. To hear what they've come up with, the showcase will take place on Friday, May 19th and guests will be able to tour the museum while each musician performs in front of their selected piece. 

For the when's and where's of the event, check out the poster below:

For more information, visit the event page. 

Poster courtesy of Krannert Art Museum. 


Smile Politely seeking Arts writers

Smile Politely is always welcoming new writers into the fold, and that, of course, includes our ever-vibrant Arts section. There are constantly new artistic endeavors happening all over Champaign-Urbana, and as an Arts writer, you'll be able to have your finger on the pulse of the local art scene.

We're looking for some writers for this particular section, and in order for this to really work, you must have at least a mild grasp what's happening locally, and preferably a grasp on art as a whole, as well. Don't worry, you don't have to be a perfect writer — we'll help with that part.

Perks of being an Arts writer include, but are not limited to:

  • Being involved in a wide variety of art-based events
  • A little extra spending money.
  • Valuable writing experience.
  • Sometimes people recognize you at the bar.

If this sounds like something you're interested in, fire an email off to