Project aims to energize nightlife in downtown Champaign

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A one-year pilot project is hoping to bring more late-night activities to downtown Champaign.

The City Council will hear about the concept on Tuesday. If approved, the million-dollar project would close a portion of Market Street between University Avenue and Main Street on Fridays and Saturdays.

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They want to create enhanced public programming and designated pedestrian zones. The city says they have a majority of funding with rollover funds from prior projects that didn’t move forward.

“We want to see a downtown that is once again with our hundreds — if not thousands — of outdoor seats filled with patrons, people moving about all across downtown, trying all of the amazing restaurants and visiting our retail establishments that we have down here,” said TJ Blakeman, a Senior Planner for the City of Champaign.

They want to have the area up and running by Memorial Day weekend and have it through mid-October. City Council would then re-evaluate the project for future plans.

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