CHAMPAIGN — The city council Tuesday night is scheduled to vote on what officials say is a relatively small but important extension of North Fourth Street.
If the council approves, the city would pay $490,000 to extend Fourth Street about 500 feet to the north of Bradley Avenue. It will improve access to the redeveloped Douglass Square neighborhood, city officials say, and could help facilitate development of property to the north of Bradley Avenue.
"It's been in the works for a long time, really since we did the redevelopment of Burch Village," said Planning Director Bruce Knight.
Burch Village was a 54-year-old public housing complex at the intersection of Fifth Street and Bradley Avenue that was torn down in 2005. It was replaced by the mixed-income Douglass Square neighborhood, which officials are now using as a model for other redevelopment projects.
Those residents can get in and out of their neighborhood only via the Fifth Street intersection, which means drivers have to pull out into moving traffic. The redevelopment plan that created Douglass Square calls for improved access to those homes, a goal that would finally be achieved with the Fourth Street extension.
That's to the east of the proposed Fourth Street extension. To the west lies property previously owned by Champaign Asphalt, which sold the lot to the Church of the Living God.
The church, which currently sits on the southwest corner of the Fourth and Bradley intersection, plans to expand to the north.
The design calls for a 41-foot-wide road with two lanes and a center turn lane. It would include two access points from Fourth Street into the Douglass Square neighborhood and presumably two driveways onto the church's property, said city engineer David Happ.
The intent is that the street would provide access to the entire parcel to the north of Bradley Avenue and east of the railroad tracks, which is ripe for development. But the Church of the Living God would probably be the first project on the books, Happ said.
Knight said there's no city plans for another extension past the first 500 feet — anything beyond that would probably be included in future developments to the north. Officials hope the extension might be able to eliminate the need for the existing Oak Street intersection with Bradley Avenue at the railroad tracks, which Knight said is a dangerous crossing.
Assuming the city council approves of the project on Tuesday, the extension is expected to be completed by Sept. 14. City officials would pay a $35,000 early completion bonus to Stark Excavating if the contractor finishes the project by Aug. 24.