City of Champaign Breaks Ground on $35 Million Garden Hills Infrastructure Improvement Project

Transformative Project to Manage Stormwater and Provide New Neighborhood Park

On October 10, 2023, the City of Champaign held a groundbreaking celebration to kick off construction of Phase Two of the Garden Hills Drainage Improvements Project. The ceremony was held at Hedge POP! Park and was preceded by remarks from elected officials, City officials, and honored guests. The groundbreaking was attended by residents of the Garden Hills neighborhood, elected officials and dignitaries, government and community partners, City staff, and members of the public.

Phase Two of the Garden Hills Drainage Improvements Project includes the construction of a massive new stormwater detention basin to provide local flood control, surrounded by beautiful, park-like amenities. Some of these amenities include a 1.5-mile walking path, decorative retaining walls, overlook areas, ornamental bridges, native plantings, seating areas, and pedestrian lighting. 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 of the new Hedge Park included significant input from neighborhood residents and will include 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 will be completed in late 2025 or early 2026. The City thanks neighbors living near the construction site for their patience during this significant construction project that will help resolve localized flooding and bring a beautiful new park and other amenities to the Garden Hills neighborhood.

This phase of the project will cost approximately $35 million and will 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.

“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. I want to thank all our valued partners who have come together to help make this wonderful neighborhood enhancement possible.”

Champaign County Board Finance Chair Stephanie Fortado added, “Champaign County is very pleased to be a partner in the effort to improve drainage and infrastructure in the Garden Hills neighborhood. 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.”

Champaign Park District Executive Director Sarah Sandquist said, “This project is such an important addition to the neighborhood. We’re excited to see the success of the Hedge POP! Park develop into permanent amenities for our community.”