Retiring inspector remembers city through the years

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Larry Happ has seen just about everything in his time as a building inspector for the Champaign Fire Department.

Happ was there from when five story buildings were exciting to now, where skyscrapers line the streets for students.

“If you come into Campustown, it’s a different view as you drive down Green Street than it was ten years ago,” said Happ.

When he started, North Prospect was still cornfields and the city’s population was 20,000 fewer. He’s had a hand in hundreds of projects since then, including recent developments near campus, midtown and downtown. Even through all the years, Happ says the process doesn’t get old.

“You meet with the developers when everything’s still just on paper,” said Happ. “And to see those blueprints actually be constructed and see the end result, is pretty impressive.”

He admits that a few upcoming projects excited him enough to consider staying, but he’s looking forward to watching the city continue to grow from the sideline.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” said Happ. “But as long as everything keeps moving forward like it has been, I say the forecast would be for increased development.”

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