If you are a dreamer about a better city to live in, and a believer in the idea that collectively, we can build that together, tonight, the Champaign City Council will hear your comments regarding the future of the Plaza Park project.
If you are a futurist, and believe that civil engineers and city planners have jobs for a reason, you should come and say so, tonight at City Hall in Downtown Champaign.
If you understand that the future won't have single owner automobiles at anywhere near the same rate as we do now, come speak your mind.
If you know in your heart that the role of city government is not only about today, but also very much about tomorrow, join the like-minded and forward-thinking majority to let a neighbor know.
This project has been on the table, in one form or another, for well over a decade, but only recently has the city council been wise enough, and thoughtful enough, to pursue it as an actuality. We are thankful for that!
To be clear, it's not the Plaza I wanted at all. When I heard about the project, and provided feedback to them when I was asked to be on the community committee, all four of the key components that I suggested are missing from this rendering. Here they are:
An urban dog park
A stage that can handle both free and ticketed shows
A unique and thoughtfully designed kid's play area
Landscaped hills and topography
So, yes, I am bummed that none of that made it into the final design. But does that mean I am going to pout and give up on the project? Hell no! I mean, look at the rendering above. That's probably not the way it's going to look in the end — there are other plans to include parking literally within the plaza, which is arguably the dumbest and most ridiculous idea since the movie Ishtar — but by comparison to the soon-to-be worthless parking lot that sits there now, this a helluva lot better.
It hasn't been without discussion, and some very nasty behavior, however. And if you come out tonight, you can probably hear a couple of those people speak. You can laugh quietly at them while they talk about how they are more important than everyone else in the community because they own property, no matter how they attained it. They will attempt to exploit people with special needs and developmental disabilities in our community in order to profit off of them. They will even lie to the city council and the Mayor about their business models.
It will be quite a show!
But this city council is a strong one, and smarter than them, and can generally see through bullshit, so it will be fine.
Honestly, this will be fine. Remember that. It will be just fine.
Nevertheless, if these types of future civic projects matter to you, I encourage you to join the process. The city council is receptive to the voices of their constituents. And that still means something.
City Council meets at City Hall, located at 102 N Neil St # 1, Champaign, IL 61820 at 7 p.m.