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Downtown Urbana group wants park to draw more visitors

An Urbana organization is on schedule with plans to develop a new park to benefit businesses and add a place for residents to relax downtown.

The Monument Square District, a downtown advocacy group, is developing Legacy Park in the southeast corner of downtown and has plans to complete it by late September, said Rich Colvin, a member of the organization.

The roughly $15,000 park project is one example of how the group is trying to take a more active role in promoting business and improving the downtown, he said.

“As a park, it’s going to have a lot of value to the retail shops downtown,” Colvin said. “We’re planning on having park benches and being able to lease the park out for events. Down the road we’d love to see tour buses coming in and they would have space to gather for the bus.”

The city is donating leftover bricks from a recent sidewalk project, Colvin said, and the park could be paved within the next week or two. The project could cost about $15,000 and some funding has been set aside.

In addition, several organizations and individuals, including the project’s architect, have donated their services to the project at no cost. Business like the Skelley Lumber Co. in Urbana are also providing materials at cost to complete the project.

The Monument Square District is taking a more active role working with businesses to improve downtown, Colvin said, and the park is part of that plan.

“In the last year the Monument Square District had gone through a reorganization and re-established itself to be more aggressive to do things to help the businesses downtown,” he said.

The park, along with other improvements, will make downtown more of a destination for residents and visitors, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Urbana.

“It’s definitely a partnership between the city, county and Monument Square District for these things to occur,” Bailey said.

Finding creative ways to draw residents downtown is crucial to help businesses thrive, Colvin said.

“We’re trying to encourage the walking traffic,” he said. “We need those shoppers downtown. The retailers all depend on that.”

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