CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – On this week’s Meet the Mayor, Diane Marlin talked about the next steps the City of Urbana will now that the application process for ARPA funding has closed, as well as updates on a long-awaited Urbana project.

Chambana Proud

Mayor Marlin says people don’t go to the polling places to vote on this, but rather online at ChambanaProud.com to purchase shirts that say “Team Champaign-Urbana” or “Team Urbana-Champaign.”

“The best thing about this election is that part of the proceeds goes to support the Champaign County Historic Museum,” said Marlin. “It’s an excellent cause, and I’m happy to support it.”

The last she heard, Marlin said “Team Urbana” was ahead, and she hopes to keep it that way.

ARPA update

Marlin says they have about $10 million to allocate yet of their American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The city council identified priority areas that they were interested in funding, including housing and food insecurity, support for small businesses, recreation and youth programming and addressing community violence. Marlin said the ARPA money did not go toward roads and infrastructure, but the period for applications just closed on Nov. 16.

Marlin said the next step in their process is for the applications to be reviewed and scored, and the city council will determine the final allocations.

“We hope to have that wrapped up in the next few weeks,” said Marlin.

There also other projects the City of Urbana is working on too.

Hotel Royer

“Probably the top one in my mind is the renovation of the Hotel Royer in downtown Urbana,” said Marlin. “The developers have asked for an extension so that they can complete the hotel by next summer. That will come to city council this coming Monday.”

Marlin said she is excited to see the progress, and what reopening this historic building will mean for downtown Urbana.

The project is over 20 years in the making, trying to restore the historic features of the hotel, but yet bring it up to the standards that travelers need.

“We believe we have found that with this developer,” said Marlin. “This will become a part of Hilton Tapestry Boutique chain of hotels, and because of its central location so close to the University and the heart of our downtown, it will really help activate the entire downtown.

Marlin said what impresses her most is when people talk about the memories they have made at the hotel celebrating important moments and events in their lives. She said that she hopes this will be the place where people can now make new memories for the next 100 years.

“There’s nothing like the Hotel Royer,” said Marlin. “It’s a 100-year-old structure that has beautiful architectural features. The fact that it’s such a unique property is what’s going to attract people to the hotel. I expect they’ll have excellent service and all of the modern amenities that travelers need these days. There’s nothing like it in the area.”

The project’s completion is expected to be August 2023.