CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Craig Rost, a long time economic development official in Champaign County, has died.
Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen said Rost, 67, died Tuesday night. The man’s obituary said Rost died at Carle Foundation Hospital. Owens Funeral Home in Champaign is handling arrangements. No other details were immediately available.
“Craig was a dedicated public servant with a kind heart,” Feinen said. “He was dedicated to our community in so many ways and responsible for so much growth and development in Champaign. In retirement he continued to serve our community as a dedicated rotary member and board member for the Champaign Public Library. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wife Gail and his family and to the many people who had the pleasure to know and work with Craig in this community.”
Champaign city spokesperson Jeff Hamilton said Rost had two stints with the city: from 1981 to June of 1988 and from November of 1988 to 2014. During the second run, Rost was Deputy City Manager for Development and Acting Public Works Director for two years.
Rost’ LinkedIn page said in 2014, he went to lead the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation in Champaign. He was there until 2018.
The University of Illinois College of Fine & Applied Arts website listed Rost as an adjunct lecturer of urban and regional planning. The college said Rost got two degrees from the U of I, a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture in 1978 and a master’s degree in urban planning in 1999.
Champaign Public Library Deputy Director Brittany Millington said Rost had served on the Champaign Public Library Board since July of 2019. Board president Katie Blakeman noted Rost also served on the library’s foundation board. Library Director Donna Pittman planned to comment on behalf of the library but was not immediately available. EDC Executive Director Carly McCrory-McKay released a statement that read in part, “[Rost] made many incredible contributions to this community through his professional and non-profit work; his legacy will live on.He was kind, compassionate, and cared deeply about Champaign County—and we feel privileged to have experienced his impact.”
Champaign city councilperson Matt Gladney paid tribute to Rost on Facebook, calling him “a tirelessly active booster for our community.”
Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin chimed in: “Craig Rost served our community with enthusiasm, intellect, and good humor. His passion for good planning, smart growth, workforce development, and entrepreneurship can be seen everywhere you look in our county.”