Garden Hills Neighborhood Improvements

Garden Hills groundbreaking celebration

The Garden Hills neighborhood is undergoing transformative infrastructure investments, with construction presently underway. These investments will improve stormwater drainage, install streetlights throughout the neighborhood, rebuild streets, and add sidewalks. The centerpiece of these improvements will be the new Hedge Park which will include wonderful park amenities, a playground, basketball court, splash play area, and gathering spaces, while also containing neighborhood stormwater.

Help Shape the Future of Garden Hills

Family at Hedge Pop Park picnic tableInput from our residents on infrastructure improvements for the Garden Hills neighborhood remain critically important to building a place our Garden Hills neighbors will enjoy and call home for generations to come. The City’s investments in neighborhood infrastructure are a launchpad for additional quality of life improvements envisioned for the neighborhood. With input from residents, the City is working to complete the Garden Hills Strategic Neighborhood Action Plan.  To learn how you can help shape the future of Garden Hills, click the link below.

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Hedge Park Construction Now Underway

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 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 is expected to be completed by late 2025 or early 2026. Once complete, the Champaign Park District will operate and maintain the City-owned Hedge Park for an initial period of 15 years, with an option to extend in the future.

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Watch the Garden Hills Groundbreaking Ceremony



Garden Hills Streetlighting Project Underway

Work to install streetlights in Garden Hills began in early 2023 and is expected to be completed by Fall 2024. Contractors are installing underground conduit to power the lights, pouring foundations, and installing light poles and other street lighting infrastructure. Work began on the north end of the neighborhood and is progressing south. Some no-parking areas will be posted at times to facilitate the construction. Contractors will attempt to minimize inconvenience to the residents in the areas adjacent to construction as much as possible.

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Neighborhood Infrastructure Drainage Study and Phased Improvements

Work to control stormwater, build Hedge Park, and build new streets and sidewalks in Garden Hills is scheduled to take place in five phases. Work is now underway on phase two.

Drainage Study

On May 5, 2015, the Champaign City Council authorized an engineering drainage study in the Garden Hills Watershed that examined the causes of flooding and provided alternatives to reduce the flooding.  The drainage study was completed in September 2016.


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The drainage study found that the primary causes of the flooding were undersized storm sewer pipes and a lack of an adequate emergency overland flow path to the Copper Slough receiving channel.  As a result of these drainage system inadequacies, the watershed floods with approximately 20-acre-feet of stormwater during a 50-year storm event.  One of the other primary findings in the study was that the Hedge Road corridor was the lowest elevation in the watershed, and therefore, highly susceptible to flooding because stormwater runoff naturally funnels towards the lower elevations.

As part of the drainage study, multiple alternatives were examined to reduce flooding in the Garden Hills watershed including combinations of piping upgrades, open channel improvements, permeable surface options, and detention storage.  The most effective alternative was a combination of piping upgrades to transport stormwater from the watershed to a new detention basin located along the north side of Hedge Road.  Locating the detention along Hedge Road is a sound stormwater management approach, since Hedge Road is the lowest elevation in the watershed.  Placing the detention basin at this location takes advantage of the natural stormwater funneling effect mentioned in the previous paragraph.  This detention basin will hold the excess stormwater runoff from the watershed and will include design elements so that the detention basin also functions as a neighborhood amenity.

Garden Hills Watershed Phasing Map

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Project Phasing

The proposed Garden Hill drainage improvement plan consists of five phases that includes a new detention basin located along Hedge Road and storm sewer pipe improvements throughout the watershed.

Phase 1  This phase of the project involves purchasing 46 properties along Hedge Road that are necessary to construct the proposed detention basin.  The purchase of one additional property along Joanne Lane would also be necessary in order to connect the storm sewer system along Joanne Lane into the proposed detention basin along Hedge Road.  Relocation assistance to property owners and renters and demolition of homes is also a part of this phase.  The total cost for property purchases, relocation assistance, and demolition was estimated at $4.9 million.

Phase 2   This phase of the project includes the construction of the proposed detention basin along the north side of Hedge Road and reconstruction of Hedge Road from Mattis Avenue to Hedge Court.  The detention basin will be sized to hold between a 40- to 50-year storm event for the watershed.  Similar to the West Washington Street project, the detention basin will feature park-like amenities such as walk paths, lighting, benches, water features, native plantings, and a variety of other landscape features.  Attachment H shows the site plan for the Hedge Road detention basin. Reconstruction of Hedge Road would follow a complete street concept, which includes new storm sewer piping, full concrete street reconstruction, sidewalks and street lighting.  Costs estimated at $39.6 million for this phase.

Hedge Park Basin Diagram

                                                                                             Phase Two Construction – Basin and Hedge Park

Phase 3  This phase includes the installation of large diameter trunk storm sewers that transport stormwater from the watershed to the Hedge Road detention basin.  Trunk storm sewers would be installed along sections of Garden Hills Drive, Paula Drive and Cynthia Drive.  The trunk storm sewer system is the primary storm sewer system for the watershed.  Work on this phase would also include complete street reconstruction, sidewalks, and street lighting.  Costs estimated at $19 million for this phase.

Additional phases are also planned. Click here to review the full results of the Garden Hills Watershed Drainage Study