Flowing through the cities of Champaign and Urbana and the University of Illinois campus, Boneyard Creek is a 3.3-mile tributary of the Saline Branch of the Salt Fork Vermillion River. In Urbana, Boneyard Creek extends nearly a half-mile through the city's downtown from Main Street to Vine Street. As Urbana and the University of Illinois have grown, the creek was channelized in the early part of the 20th century for flood control, and the sheet pile walls you see today have made the creek inaccessible since the 1960s. In 2008 the City of Urbana adopted a visionary Boneyard Creek Master Plan which is intended to transform Boneyard Creek in downtown Urbana from a stormwater drainage channel to a public amenity with outdoor gathering spaces. Currently, the City of Urbana is constructing segments between Griggs Street and Broadway Avenue as envisioned by the Plan. Further improvements envisioned by the Plan are yet to be designed and constructed.
Friends of the Boneyard is a local grass-roots community organization composed of local residents and businesses formed to help make this long-term transformation successful. Through this effort, we want to be a collective voice for the development of active public spaces associated with the different phases identified in the Plan. To that end, the Friends of the Boneyard would like your ideas for how future phases from Main Street and Griggs Street (Segments 1 and 2) can be most successful. With the partial removal of the sheet pile walls and by possibly laying back the banks to create a more naturalized channel, what kind of spaces would you like to see that could be used for everyday activities and events to make Boneyard Creek and downtown Urbana successful? What ideas for public spaces have you always dreamed of? What other great spaces have you been to and think would be perfect for our community? This year, as Urbana celebrates its 180th birthday, we need your ideas for this particular location right in the heart of downtown!
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