URBANA — Following a meeting between officials with the city and the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, Mayor Diane Marlin announced Wednesday that the city will remove the 12-month probationary period and fines recently imposed on the nonprofit facility.
Marlin said the city will also be refunding the $300 in permit fees paid by the IMC in the last week, and will require special-event permits in the future only if the IMC is using public resources, like in the event of a street closure or if the event involves alcohol, Marlin said Tuesday on Facebook.
The city and the IMC are also working together to draft a “memorandum of understanding” to cover “issues related to operation of the event center,” Marlin added.
“Like I said on Monday, we decided we needed to reset the conversation,” Marlin said. “We started with addressing the concerns, but most important, we’re going to draft an agreement jointly that will provide a framework for the future.”
Marlin said the IMC and the city are “just getting started” but expects the memo to include templates for general security plans, training for volunteers who will do on-site management and placing a greater focus on police-community relations. She added that she’s happy to be “fixing it and moving on together.”
IMC officials said in a statement that in the past three days, it received donations that offset its losses since the fines were imposed and they are happy to see the situation resolved.
“For 19 years, the IMC has provided a safe space for residents, including vulnerable populations, to develop their creativity and voice,” the statement said. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the community and the fast response from the mayor and council once they heard the community’s concerns.”