City looks for expansion approval

Local News
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Downtown could look very different in a few years, thanks to a $200 million project.

Tuesday, the city held the first discussion about the massive development called “The Yards.”

City staff talked about several different aspects of the project, showed a few videos and called it a transformative, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for downtown.

Estimated to cost $200 million, the 11-acre site surrounds the Illinois Terminal Building and includes a 175-room hotel, convention space for up to 1,000 people, 100-apartments, office space and a hockey rink.

The presentations covered what the impact of the development would be to the downtown area.

One of the main points would be to bolster the Illinois Terminal by expanding it. Officials say this would cut back on bus clutter and reduce traffic on surrounding streets.

Another point is to build an arena for Division I hockey at the UI. The facility would allow the Athletics Department to host hockey, volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics meets. The arena would be big enough to hold three sheets of hockey, dozens of wrestling mats or volleyball courts. It could also potentially hold four full basketball courts.

They’re also hoping fans will be attracted to places in downtown before and after games. About 1,200 new public parking spaces could be used even when events aren’t happening. 

They say they’ve already made upgrades to nearby areas and hope to finish an agreement on the development itself by the beginning of 2019.

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