CHAMPAIGN - The city of Champaign is trying to organize property owners and developers to advance a city plan to improve and redevelop several properties around Beardsley Park and the intersection of Market Street and Bradley Avenue.
The city actions are part of a long-evolving plan to redevelop the Beardsley Park area, much of which has been improved in recent years with the investment of Community Development Block Grant funds. Some $2 million has been set aside this year and over the next two fiscal years for demolition and street reconstruction on portions of Eureka, North, Champaign and Beardsley streets.
Several revisions to the plan will be acted on by the Champaign City Council in a study session at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
Also Tuesday, the Champaign Police Department is seeking advice from the council on its long-range strategic plan.
A draft of the plan contains five goals. Several objectives are outlined for how to accomplish each of the goals. The goals are:
- Policing with the community.
- Safe streets, safe neighborhoods, safe community.
- Safe place for kids to grow up.
- Professional police department reflective of the community.
- More effective use of technology; better police practices and greater efficiency.
Among the highlights of the Beardsley Park plan is how to accommodate expansion plans for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.
According to a report from Community Development Specialist John Schneider, the public health district is considering expansion possibilities for its Neil Street offices. One alternative would use some city land east of Hickory Street for parking. Most of the property between Hickory and Champaign Street is slated for Boneyard Creek detention.
Schneider said the health district is also considering whether to create a campuslike complex that would also include Illinois Department of Human Services offices and the Frances Nelson Health Center.
The city staff is also asking council approval to solicit developer interest in commercial development on Bradley Avenue between Market Street and the Illinois Central tracks. The city has purchased all the property and demolished most of the buildings that used to be on the site.
Schneider said the city has received "several" calls from developers interested in building commercial property there.
A third aspect of the plan involves a land trade the city is trying to negotiate with Herff Jones, Cap and Gown. The city has recently acquired the Beebe Trucking property at 738 N. Market St. that it wants to trade to Cap and Gown for Cap and Gown's parking lot directly east of Beardsley Park.
The city wants to build new single-family homes on the Cap and Gown parking lot.
Schneider said in his report that a complication is that the Cap and Gown lot is valued at $145,000 and the Beebe property at $100,000, plus a new parking lot would cost $225,000.
"It is unlikely that Herff Jones will undertake this expenditure in the near future without a contribution from the city," he said.