This Is It Furniture making return to Danville

DANVILLE – This Is It Furniture is returning to towner, towner, towner.

Owner Mike Namoff plans to open a furniture store this summer in downtown Danville in the former Rhodes-Burford building, 103 E. Main St.

Urbana recommends against landmark designation

URBANA – City planning staff and Mayor Laurel Prussing are recommending against designating the Historic Lincoln Hotel as a local landmark, saying it could hinder the new owner's chances of establishing a viable downtown hotel.

The landmark issue will come up for consideration at Monday's city council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

Illinois Disciples Foundation plans to sell building

CHAMPAIGN – A fixture in the University of Illinois campus area – the Illinois Disciples Foundation building – will be sold to a private developer with plans to turn it into store and office space.

The foundation said it has arranged to sell the three-story building at 610 E. Springfield Ave., C, to JSM Development.

Urbana council OKs Boneyard Master Plan

URBANA – Allen Strong says he's heard a lot of talk over the past 18 years about beautifying the Boneyard Creek in Urbana.

But so far, the owner of Silvercreek Restaurant and Courier Cafe in downtown Urbana said he's seen precious little action.

Campustown development plan on Champaign agenda

CHAMPAIGN – A plan that will guide the development of Campustown is set for final approval Tuesday by the city council.

The proposed University District Action Plan "sets goals and strategies and a framework for the future developments near campus," said Terry J. Blakeman, a city planner.

Even with higher diesel expenses, district holding up well

URBANA – While the rapid increase in fuel prices might be boosting ridership, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is also being squeezed by rising diesel fuel costs.

The district's most recent purchase of diesel fuel was at $3.83 per gallon. Spending on fuel this fiscal year, for the first nine months through March 31, stands at $1.5 million. That's $373,000 more than the same period last year, and $115,000 more than the district had budgeted, according to MTD Managing Director Bill Volk.

Tourism bureau touting quick trips around Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – How much of a bite will gas prices take out of tourism this summer?

It's anyone's guess, but the Illinois Bureau of Tourism is promoting inexpensive, close-to-home traveling just in case.

Kraft gets slice of new building for pizza project

CHAMPAIGN – A development company is planning to build a 40,000-square-foot business center on Country Fair Drive, with 6,000 square feet to be leased to Kraft Foods' pizza division.

Becknell Development ex-pects to build the Parkview Business Center on a 4-acre tract at 901 N. Country Fair Drive, said Paul Thurston, a manager for the development company. The portion built for the pizza division is expected to be ready for occupancy by Oct. 31.

Spaghetti Shop serves up last pasta

SAVOY – A longtime fast-food option is no longer available in Champaign County due to the death of the local franchisee. The Spaghetti Shop in Savoy served its last bucket of pasta last Saturday, and the property is for sale.

Lee Johnston, who acquired the store in 2006, died April 13, and his family was no longer interested in pursuing the business, said one of his sons, Jeffrey S. Johnston.

Whooping crane makes area pit stop

OLIVET – Gary Wilford wasn't exactly sure what he would find as he headed out this week to investigate an unusual bird sighted in a cornfield between Olivet and Ridge Farm.

"I got a call about this bird, so I started describing an egret," said Wilford, a naturalist with the Vermilion County Conservation District. "They come through here sometimes, but the people didn't think that was what it was and they said it was banded."