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Nostalgia is one reason to pick up a 9-pound paver that once made up Park Avenue to the north of Champaign Central High.

Practicality is another.

"As old as they are — some are stamped 1901 — they're just as big and strong and heavy as they ever were," said Tom Garza, Preservation and Conservation Association's executive director. "They've had cars and horses on them and will be good for the rest of your lifetime. They're seriously well made. If you use one for your patio, it's going to last."

Unit 4 has made the pavers — excavated from a portion of Park Avenue that is part of the high school's renovation — available for free while quantities last. They're in piles at the east end of the former McKinley YMCA parking lot at 500 W. Church St. Garza encountered a line of cars when he visited the site earlier this week.

"I'm glad they're doing it because they're a historic part of the fabric of Champaign," Garza said. "If you've lived here for any amount of time, you're well aware of our nice, brick streets.

"Just bring gloves and wear sturdy shoes," he added. "If you drop one on your foot, you won't enjoy it."

Vice President of News

Jim Rossow is vice president of news at The News-Gazette. His email is jrossow@news-gazette.com.