Neighborhood seeing improvements

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — One neighborhood is starting to see some real change. Some people living in the Garden Hills neighborhood have been skeptical about how much city leaders really care. 

But now – the association announced it’s happy with what’s being done.

There are concerns about messy yards, a need for stop lights, more streetlights, and that’s just the beginning.

They’ve had those concerns for years, but some are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“The more noise we make, the more we’re gonna get attention,” said Garden Hills Assocation president Chad Smith. 

Smith says it’s no secret people have a long list of issues. 

“We still have streets that a week, two weeks after, have standing water on them, two three inches of water on the corners. That’s just not acceptable.”

“We only have four streetlights from Mattis to McKinley and with four streetlights in that long of a stretch – it’s dark.”

That’s why Smith and neighbors have been active to make sure their voices are heard. We were at their meeting earlier this week. They met with Champaign’s mayor.

At least one woman said she didn’t think council was listening to them, but the president says, as a whole, the neighborhood is happy they’re seeing movement.

“This is a neighborhood who has been an advocate for themselves, which is awesome and who is being listened to and pair attention to by council.”

Some improvements in the works include more efficient and affordable lighting, a drainage improvement project, and doorbells with cameras.

The drainage project isn’t set to finish until 2030, but the city wants to speed it up.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to take 10 years, we can tighten that time, but we also can’t snap our fingers and make it happen in a year’s time,” said Feinen.

There’s a lot of change on the way, and if everything follows through as promised, Smith says everyone living here will benefit.

“My largest concern with the project is that… if it fails, if we don’t get this in a timely manner, that the community will dimish to the point where there’s no return on investment for your home or your rental property.”

The program for more efficient lighting is called SLEEP. Regional planning commission members will be going door-to-door within the next few weeks to talk to neighbors about how it works. 

City leaders will also be holding workshops for people living in Garden Hills to get more energy efficiency and safety tips and the SLEEP program. The first will be on June 12th. 

That will be from noon until 1 p.m. at the Arrowhead bowling alley. 

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