Champaign city government

Champaign city government

By PATRICK WADE
pwade@news-gazette.com

CHAMPAIGN — City officials will do what they can this fiscal year to promote development and build community as a tight city budget forces them to work with limited resources.

The city will look to its core as an opportunity for development in the downtown and Campustown, and staff will continue to work to repair a strained relationship between the police department and citizens after an October 2009 tragedy, said City Manager Steve Carter.

Key issues include:

— The budget. Coming into this fiscal year, officials had to make more than $2 million in spending cuts to bring their budget more in line with revenues.

Those cuts really were a continuation of the previous year’s $6 million gap, Finance Director Richard Schnuer has said.

Key revenues continue to decline or stay flat as costs — particularly city health care plans and pension payments — continue to increase. As a result, some city positions, including some in the police and fire departments which were vacated last year, will continue to be held vacant as officials look to cut spending.

And a state budget tangled in the political process has municipalities everywhere in Illinois preparing for the worst. Springfield legislators could choose to share less money with local governments as the state tries to remedy its own fiscal shortfalls.

“The big question mark is, ‘What’s the state going to do to solve its problem?’” Carter said.

— Police and community relations. Tensions linger after 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington was fatally wounded by a Champaign police officer in October 2009, an event that cleaved the police department and community.

Much media coverage, court hearings, investigations, meetings and suspensions followed at the end of 2009 and first half of 2010. Included in the series of events was a March 15 community forum, during which both police and community members offered solutions to move on from the incident.
Carter said a key initiative now is to take what was suggested during that forum and put it into practice. That includes developing programs for “at-risk” children in the community.

“Let’s get more into the prevention part of this and see how we can make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Carter said.

— Development. City officials will look to a “pretty healthy” construction program to promote development in the city’s core — including an area that could be coined as “midtown,” Carter said.
The Boneyard Creek improvement project along Second Street just north of Campustown is nearing completion. Carter said the new parks and walkways along the creek will provide a pedestrian connection between the historically separate Campustown and downtown.

The project “gives life to the whole center part of the city,” and will connect two areas that have been competitive with each other, Carter said.

Carter also expects to see changes to the University of Illinois Research Park as UI officials choose a new developer this summer to facilitate business there. And a planned extension of Fourth Street from St. Mary’s Road to Windsor Road will “really open up” more land for development.

City Council

Mayor (also liquor commissioner): Gerald Schweighart
2906 West Daniel St.
Home: 217-359-9294; Office: 217-403-8720
jerryschweighart@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2011

District 1: Will Kyles
408 Taylor Thomas Lane
Cell: 217-552-3625
WillKyles@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2013

District 2: Michael La Due (deputy mayor)
1005 S. Sixth St., Apt. #28
Home: 217-367-5536
michael.ladue@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2013

District 3: Kyle Harrison
P.O. Box 7601
Phone: 217-714-8016
KyleHarrison@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2013

District 4: Marci Dodds
1005 W. University Avenue
Home: 217-351-4765
marcidodds@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2013

District 5: Gordy Hulten
4903 Watermark Dr.
Cell: 217-369-4716
GordyHulten@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2011

At-Large: Thomas Bruno
1109 W. Park Ave.
Home: 217-398-2191
Office: 217-328-6000
tombruno@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2011

At-Large: Deborah Frank Feinen
1202 Mayfair Road
Home: 217-356-2086
Office: 217-359-1000 Ext. 123
DeborahFrankFeinen@ci.champaign.il.us
Term expires 2011

At-Large: Karen Foster
2113 Blackthorn Drive
Home: 217-359-0356
KarenFoster@ci.champaign.il.us
Term Expires 2011

Navigation (1):Answerbook