Construction underway on Garden Hills detention pond and recreation area in Champaign

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Champaign has launched construction on the next phase of a $36 million construction project designed to reduce flooding and increase recreation space.

Work includes building a stormwater detention basin, pedestrian walkway, ornamental bridges and lighting. The new Hedge Park will be built at the center of the basin with a basketball court, splash play area and playground, according to a city document outlining the plan.

“This project is a good representation of what Champaign is all about,” Councilmember Vanna Pianfetti said at a council meeting. “This will improve the lives of people who work here and play here.”

The project timeline has been accelerated by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a federal bill passed in 2021 to provide financial assistance to Americans affected by the pandemic. Champaign County received $40 million in ARPA funding, $2 million of which will go to the Garden Hills project, according to Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen.

A $2.8 million contract was signed with Clark Dietz, Inc. for engineering services on the project.

“The federal government providing ARPA funding is really what allowed this project to move forward at a faster clip,” Feinen said. “It was scheduled to occur, we would’ve gotten there, but we would’ve gotten there ten years out from where we are now.

Work will include installing a detention pond that has the capacity to hold a 50-year storm event.

“This is a project that we are all excited about.” Deputy Mayor Will Kyles said at the council meeting. “It took a lot of work and input from the community… It’s exciting, I’m thankful and I look forward to the improvements going forward.”

Construction started last month will pause for winter and the project is expected to ne completed by spring 2026.

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