CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Today, the neighborhood of Garden Hills in Champaign began much-needed upgrades.

Thanks to ARPA funds, $4,000,000 will go toward improving conditions in Garden Hills. Streetlights, sewers, and sidewalks will be built.

Champaign Public Works employee Kris Koester said they’ve wanted to upgrade the neighborhood for years and didn’t believe they could start until 2030. The ARPA money gives them a head start to finish the project ahead of schedule.

“We know it’s been a long time coming,” Koester said. “They’ve worked with us, advocated for themselves. They’ve worked really well to try and help something that will bring positive change to the neighborhood. So, we’re glad to get this moved up as quickly as possible.”

Koester said he expects the Garden Hills project to be finished by the Fall of 2024. Community member Roy Parker said more lighting can improve quality of life.

“To me, it would mean a great deal,” said Parker. “And I know I’m not the only one because it’s bringing a lot of activities around here and that’s what we need. Something for our kids to do.”