Why do we need a downtown plaza?

Downtown has a lot to offer, with many housing choices, downtown festivals, theaters, restaurants and more. A well-designed public plaza will provide the following benefits:

  • Dedicated, ‘plug-n-play’ space for special events, outdoor concerts, etc.
  • A space that appeals to all ages and lifestyles. This includes families with children, folks who do not frequent bars & restaurants, and anyone who enjoys relaxing outdoors.
  • Improved image as a key focal point of downtown and the larger community.

I don’t visit downtown currently. Will a new plaza make me change my mind?

We hope so! As a community member, this is YOUR plaza.  We need your input, ideas and concerns to make sure this IS a space that you want to visit and enjoy.

Our project team has set forth the value that the plaza should be “inclusive, welcoming and safe,” for all to enjoy regardless of age, gender, culture, socioeconomic background, physical ability, etc.  That means, we need to hear from you!  Please, become involved!

So, how should I get involved then?

Please provide your e-mail here, to join the listserve and receive e-mail updates. You can also follow the City on twitter and facebook to receive social media updates.

Also, we’ll come to you – if you are part of a club, group, parish, knitting circle, coffee klatch…whatever it may be, we would love to speak to you.  We also have ready-to-go interactive input activities for classrooms of all ages, so teachers, please call or e-mail.  Lacey Rains Lowe, Senior Planner & project manager (217) 403-8800 or Lacey.Rains@champaignil.gov

I visited a really amazing place when I was out of town, it has some great ideas for our local plaza. How can I share the pictures with you?

You can e-mail it directly or post to twitter, facebook, or Instagram. Be sure to use #PlanOurPlaza in tag.  We will regularly search social media for #PlanOurPlaza tags and can crowd source your images and ideas.  If there is something special about the place you want to call attention to, please note it in your post, as well as the location.  Example:  Charleston, SC Waterfront Park. Instead of benches, they have swings – we need that! #PlanOurPlaza

What about parking?

Parking and vehicular access to businesses adjacent to the existing parking lot is being studied through the planning process. The success of downtown businesses is an important consideration and the final plaza design will reflect that.  The City operates a public parking deck, multiple surface parking lots and on-street parking spaces near the future plaza space that have capacity.

What will it cost to build the plaza?

The concept design will be used to estimate construction cost. Cost may depend on what amenities and facilities the community would like to include in the space.  The concept design will also explore how the project could be phased.

Where will the funding come from?

Funding will come from a variety of sources. Once the planning process and concept design is finished, the City will work with local citizens and organizations to launch a fundraising process.  There are also opportunities to apply for grant funding and public funding available through the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district.

When will you start building the plaza?

This process is about creating a plan and concept design for the space, based on community ideas. There is no current construction timeline.