Champaign city administrators on Tuesday night will ask city council members for authorization to sell up to 150,000 bricks at 50 cents each. That's a good chunk of cash, but not nearly as high as city officials had hoped.
More than 200,000 bricks are sitting in storage behind the Champaign public works. They're used periodically to maintain the city's nostalgia-evoking brick roads, which hark back to the days of horse and buggy.
But that's a lot of bricks to store and maintain, and city officials have been trying to unload some of them. About a year ago, the city council signed off on selling those bricks at 75 cents per brick -- there weren't any takers at that price, said Public Works Director Dennis Schmidt.
So now they are lowering the price again, and this time they'll ask for less than the 55 cents they originally paid for each brick when they bought them from an East St. Louis stockyard in 1999.
This marketing of bricks is a reversal of city officials' position from two years ago, when they said they'd rather keep their pile -- at the time, they also valued it much higher (refer again to above link).
But if you're a brick road lover, don't worry about them. They're more expensive to maintain when officials do have to fix them, but the vitrified clay bricks last much longer than concrete or asphalt, and Schmidt estimates the remaining brick pile will hold out for about 40 years. Many of the brick roads in central Champaign are protected by city ordinance, which means administrators would need city council approval before they consider replacing a brick road with more traditional materials.
On the other hand, if you don't like Champaign's brick streets, you're probably out of luck.