Smile Politely

Champaign City Council Paves the Way for Future Residential Living Downtown

After Mayor Gerald Schweighart read the resolution providing funds to the reconstruction of three residential redevelopments on North Neil and West Church streets, Council Member Michael La Due took time to note that the incentive deserves a little fanfare in what he called “a small step for the city, but a giant step for preservation and integrity of our downtown.”

The resolution grants $225,000 from the city to go towards expenditures incurred in reconstruction of the properties at 219 N. Neil St., 223 N. Neil St. and 109 W. Church St. The buildings would provide more residential living in the downtown area.

“We’re creating opportunity for more residential living in the downtown area that is not only infill, but it’s redevelopment of properties that are listed on the national register of historic places, so we are achieving several things at once,” La Due said.

The property redevelopment contributes an admittedly very small piece out of urban sprawl by affording living opportunities in proximity to the center of the city, La Due said.

The council also approved an ordinance that changed the boundary lines of Champaign’s five city council election districts. According to the ordinance, the intention of the new map is to provide approximate population equality among districts.

Council Members Marci Dodds, Gina Jackson and Ken Pirok voted against the measure the council approved by a 5–3 vote.

When looking at new district boundaries, Dodds said she was looking for a map that met three conditions: respect for and sensitivity to fellow district representatives, a minimum of change logically done because the census in 2012 will likely cause the map to be redrawn again and to keep the council as non-partisan as possible.

“This map certainly isn’t terrible,” Dodds said while addressing the council, “but neither does it do any of those things so, I will be voting no.”

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