“I see it as a seed for the community…” Champaign leaders react to Back the Blue at City Council

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign leaders plan to take what they heard from the city council meeting Tuesday and apply it to solutions. Council members listened to almost 4 hours of public comment. So, they have a lot to work with.

Tuesday night, hundreds of people gathered inside Champaign’s City Building. Most of them were to Back the Blue.

“What I saw was a call for unity. What I saw was a call for investment in Garden Hills. What I saw was a call for investment in people,” Will Kyles, Deputy Mayor said.

People with Back the Blue Champaign County brought up concerns about gun violence and police safety.

They want police to have more resources and they even suggested council members do ride-alongs with officers.

Neighbors from Garden Hills also talked about issues they see. Like a lack of street lights and a lack of money for certain areas. They said it’s dangerous all around.

Mayor Deb Feinen said it was nice to see people coming together.

“For me, I see that as a seed for us as a community to continue to come together, to work together for our community members and our police department,” she said.

City leaders said they’re working to figure out how to use American Rescue Plan Money. They said they can make a more informed decision when people give their input.

“In the midst of everything that’s going on, if everybody walked around and said ‘hey, you know, city council do your thing,’ but the people come out as they’ve come out in previous times. We have the opportunity, we have the leg work, we have the date. Real live data to justify and do what’s necessary to improve our community,” Kyles said.

Fienen said she knows things won’t be fixed or changed overnight, but she said she knows if anyone can do it, Champaign can.

“It’s a task with a high bar, but it’s one that I know as a community, we are capable of reaching,” she said.

Both Kyles and the Mayor said everyone needs to continue to have conversations like the one that happened Tuesday night. They said that’s the only way things will be brought to their attention and ultimately how things can change.

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