Neil Street Plaza Placemaking Plan Champaign, Illinois
Transforming the ‘heart’ of the city with a vibrant, activated, and year-round public space.
The City of Champaign has experienced a dramatic transformation in the downtown area particularly in the last fifteen years, with dedicated public investments in infrastructure, renovated historic buildings, and new infill projects, revitalizing the area as a lively destination for dining and entertainment. The City and MKSK embarked on a Placemaking Plan to explore the possibilities of a new urban space for the downtown core.
The future Neil Street Plaza, currently a surface parking lot, is perfectly positioned as the “Heart of Downtown” to become a dynamic space attracting residents and visitors. The new civic space will be a daily destination for all ages and lifestyles, as well as the City’s hub for special events in all seasons.
Additionally, within the space, the Placemaking Plan recommends elements that celebrate the community’s vibrant and cultural heritage.
The project included a series of hands-on public engagement events encouraging attendees to participate in the planning process and share their thoughts for the civic space. The events have provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the project, view photos of and provided feedback on potential plaza elements—such as a skating rink, dynamic play areas, water features, lawns, performance zones, and more. The initial event drew over 150 city members, local business owners, and neighborhood residents to understand their preferences for this exciting new urban space.