City of Champaign to Hold Groundbreaking Ceremony for Downtown Plaza

Transformative Project Ushers in New Era of Reinvestment in Downtown Champaign

The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking celebration to kick off construction of the first phase of the new Downtown Plaza. The ceremony will be held at 1 E. Main Street on July 12, 2024, at 4:30 pm. The celebration will include remarks from Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen and State Senator Paul Faraci. The public is invited to help celebrate the start of this exciting new project. Refreshments will be provided by Big Grove Tavern.

Construction of the Downtown Plaza implements a longstanding vision to create a community gathering space in the heart of downtown. In 2019, the Champaign City Council adopted the Neil Street Plaza Placemaking Plan, which was the culmination of 18 months of public input and outreach. Through that effort, Champaign residents embarked on a process to reimagine a City-owned parking lot and to develop a beautiful, vibrant and accessible public plaza. The process included hundreds of participants who shared their ideas, hopes and visions for this new community space. The new Downtown Plaza will expand the appeal of Downtown Champaign to all ages and lifestyles, it will enhance the image of the community, and it will create a new space purposefully built to host special events.

The Downtown Plaza will be constructed in two phases. The first phase includes a performance stage, new seating areas, bench swings, decorative lighting, and public art. Phase one is partially funded by a $500,000 Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Phase two construction is funded by a $12 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Phase two construction will commence in 2026 and includes construction of a great lawn, small business kiosks, interactive lighting, pop-jet fountains, and much more. To learn more about the project and to stay updated on construction progress visit