Champaign breaks ground on $35 million Garden Hills infrastructure improvement project

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The City of Champaign held a groundbreaking at Hedge POP! Park last week to kick off construction of phase two of the Garden Hills drainage improvements project.

Work includes construction of a massive new stormwater detention basin to provide local flood control, surrounded by a 1.5-mile walking path, decorative retaining walls, overlook areas, ornamental bridges, native plantings, seating areas, and pedestrian lighting.“This is such an exciting day for the Garden Hills neighborhood and the City of Champaign,” said Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen. “This project has been a priority for the City Council and the neighborhood for a long time, and I cannot wait to see the final result and to witness the positive impacts it will have for residents.”

Located at the center of the detention basin will be the new Hedge Park, which will replace the temporary Hedge POP! Park that served as a neighborhood park for the last two years.

The design includes a basketball court, reading circle, turf area, playground equipment, an interactive exercise/play wall (Sutu wall), splash play area, water mister, exercise stations, and a plaza gathering space. The construction project also includes the complete street reconstruction of Hedge Road between Mattis Avenue and Hedge Court.

Construction will start later this month and be completed in late 2025 or early 2026.

This phase of the project will cost approximately $35 million and be funded with $5 million of the City of Champaign’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, $2 million of ARPA funds from Champaign County, and the sale of City bonds. The City of Champaign is also pleased to announce a partnership with the Champaign Park District who will operate and maintain the city-owned Hedge Park for an initial period of 15 years with an option to extend in the future.

“Champaign County is very pleased to be a partner in the effort to improve drainage and infrastructure in the Garden Hills neighborhood,” Champaign County Board Finance Chair Stephanie Fortado said. “Our contribution specifically supports the sidewalk and lighting enhancements that are part of this broader plan for the neighborhood.

“We want to thank everyone who has worked together to make this project a reality. It is a shining example of how we can all work together for the residents of Champaign County.”

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