URBANA — Count another city in for Champaign County’s bid to lure the IHSA state boys’ basketball tournament back to the place it was held for 77 years.
Urbana aldermen voted this week to pledge $7,500 annually to the cause — up from the $5,000 the city was ready to contribute when a proposal was prepared five years ago to move the event back to State Farm Center.
Visit Champaign County is organizing the bid, which is due Jan. 10. Peoria is also planning to bid for the event it’s hosted since 1996.
This time around, Champaign increased its pledge from $30,000 annually to $50,000, while Savoy doubled its annual contribution to $10,000.
“I think we’re all on board that this is a community effort, and it’s going to take collaboration,” Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin said.
In addition, Rantoul is keeping its contribution even at $5,000 annually, Tuscola is staying at $2,000 a year and St. Joseph is going from nothing to $500 annually. Mahomet, meanwhile, has dropped its $1,000-a-year pledge.
Five years ago, Visit Champaign County spearheaded a $750,000 bid, which included $510,000 from donors and private entities and $240,000 from local communities.
The IHSA is expected to announce in March which city will host the 2021-23 tournaments.