Champaign Could See Neil Street Developments

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Champaign- Champaign could be seeing some new developments on Neil Street.

The Champaign City Council approved a proposal for the city's planning and development department to begin looking for consults to help design a two part project along Neil Street. The first part of the project involves creating a corridor from the Neil Street exit from Interstate 74 to downtown.

"When visitors or residents of the community are coming in off the interstate from I-74, and heading towards downtown, it increases their perception of the community so they get a good first impression, so that as they enter the community they get a corridor that matches all of the things that are going on elsewhere in the community" said Jeff Marino, a senior planner with the planning and development department for the City of Champaign.

The city would also plan to connect the corridor with the shopping district North of the interstate, in hopes of connecting shoppers near Marketplace mall to the entertainment and restaurants downtown.

The second step, would be creating a plaza in the current site of the Washington and Neil Streets parking lot downtown. "A plaza is really the center of urban life.There's a place where there is a lot of activity and a lot of people and while its a place that maybe you can relax or you know work on your laptop, or you know even have a public event, it's really intended to be a part of the action" said Lacey Rains Lowe, a senior planner with the planning and development department for the City of Champaign.

The planning and development department plan on using input from the community as to how to design and include in the new developments. "I think it's really exciting to have the opportunity wide input effort, so we can really start to think about, you know what people who may not be coming downtown to say what they would like to see downtown and then maybe be drawn to be apart of that experience." said Rains Lowe.

They hope to have a consultant approved by the end of the year.

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