A grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) has supported the Village of Savoy’s intent to construct a shared use path along First Street next year, estimated to cost $1.2 million. The Place at 117 is a student living apartment complex located in Savoy at the intersection of First Street and Curtis Road. It’s a 10-minute drive to campus by car or a 30-minute ride on the public bus. Yet 1 mile of the 2.3 mile bike ride from the complex to campus along First Street are missing bike lanes and lighting, and the Village of Savoy plans to fix that.
For years, Garden Hills residents, property owners and advocates have been unsuccessfully pleading with the city of Champaign for improved living conditions, more city funding and reduced crime. While plans are underway for some improvements, some said it should have come sooner.
In June, the city was awarded $25 million through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a COVID-19 economic relief plan disbursing emergency funds. Half of the funds have already been given to the city, while the other half will be received next year. Kay Nees, finance director of the city, said the ARP was like a “key missing piece” in order to get to work on Garden Hills. The two efforts, a drainage project to target flooding, and a lighting project to make the streets safer, have their own timeline, budget and design. The first phase of the drainage project has already been completed: creating greenspace to install detention basins. The city worked with residents to demolish properties that were frequently getting flooded to make room for detention basins.