Parks and Recreation
ARCOLA – A soybean field east of Arcola is being transformed by construction crews into an environmentally friendly resort and tourist attraction.
The developers of Green Mill Village, a partnership between Sullivan-based Agri-Fab and Bob McElwee of Charleston, say the 63.5-acre resort, hotel and conference center will cement Arcola's position as a tourist destination, especially for families from the Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis areas.
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign parents will have one less option for activities for their children next summer.
The Champaign school district will no longer provide its summer camp program for elementary students.
URBANA – The Urbana Park District board has tentatively decided to ask voters for a property tax increase next April, but will ask for less money than they did in a February referendum.
Board President Michael Walker said members reached a consensus this week in a study session to place a tax proposal on the April 7 ballot, seeking a 15-cent increase in the district's overall property tax rate.
That's the bare minimum the district needs to avoid program cuts and possible staff reductions, he said.
CHAMPAIGN – The park district board is deciding whether to hire a consultant to determine if the district needs a new 85,000-square-foot recreation center and possibly an indoor fieldhouse to replace its current indoor facilities.
But any construction is likely "several years away," said park district Executive Director Bobbie Herakovich.
Board members heard presentations this week from three different groups wanting to conduct the indoor recreation space feasibility study and plan, expected to cost between $30,000 and $65,000.
ROBERTS – The Roberts Village Board is considering creating a park district to help support the Roberts Gym.
Rick Flessner, village board president, said the gym has been funded by donations for more than a decade, with gifts of about $200,000 during that time.
URBANA – Mayor Laurel Prussing wants to amend a plan for the Crystal Lake neighborhood to require, rather than encourage, Carle Hospital to support one-to-one replacement housing when homes are lost due to a Carle expansion.
But Carle is "not willing" to agree to such a requirement, a Carle official said.
BEMENT – Area residents will have a few additional weeks to visit Bryant Cottage and other state historic sites before the doors are closed.
But the governor's plans to shut down historic sites have forced the cancellation of a traditional holiday event at the Bement landmark.
The Bananas in Pajamas duo were not going to let a shooting threat thwart their Halloween activities on Green Street.
It was just after 9 p.m. near the intersection of Green and Wright streets. The pair – dressed as bananas in blue-striped pajamas – walked quickly toward Green Street, where traffic began to pick up.
CHAMPAIGN – When he used to drive by the Champaign County YMCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Regional Director Tim Johnson couldn't help but think to himself about what an incredible resource it could be.
But he didn't realize just how much of a resource the YMCA could be until he read about a Champaign mother's quest to build an all-inclusive play space where developmentally disabled children like her daughter, Larkin, would feel welcome.
MAHOMET – The Champaign County Forest Preserve District board is asking voters to approve a property tax hike to purchase additional forest preserve land, to develop a new bike and horse trail connecting Urbana to Kickapoo State Park and to improve infrastructure at the five county forest preserves.
But Champaign County farmers are leading efforts against the ballot question proposal because they oppose using property tax money to acquire more land, including farmland.