Smile Politely

The Neil Street Plaza project got a $500,000 grant from the state

A rendering of a park plaza. Much of the image is gray and white, but the portion indicating the plans are in color, featuring a triangle of green space.
City of Champaign website

In 2017, the City of Champaign launched PlanOurPlaza to begin soliciting input from the community on what they’d like to see in a park plaza at the corners of Main and Church and Washington and Neil in Downtown Champaign. In 2018, a first look at plans for the plaza were released (and later approved by the city). A pandemic and need for more funding stalled the project for a bit, but now with a $500,000 Illinois’ Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant, Phase One of the project will likely begin in 2024. From The News-Gazette:

The first phase of the Neil Street Plaza project — which city officials have been eying for more than 15 years — will involve an extension to the north, plus a renovation, of One Main Plaza at the corner of Neil and Main streets, according to Lacey Rains, senior planner for the city.

This phase of the project would still leave plenty of parking in that lot, but would also add an outdoor stage and raised planters, with the stage doubling as extra outdoor seating areas when it’s not in use for performances, Rains said.

Visit Champaign County received $475,000 for further development of the Champaign County African American Heritage Trail, including the recently announced Skelton Park plaza.

C-U Adventures in Time and Space will use their $318,839 grant to add a mini-golf course to their space in Urbana.

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