Urbana can’t retain family-friendly businesses

Letter published in News-Gazette Wed November 29 2006

Comment: Although this letter references a children’s dance studio (Christine Rich Studio) that left Lincoln Square for Savoy, also note that the Champaign Ballet Academy, now in west Champaign also was once located on Main Street in downtown Urbana.

An October 31 News-Gazette story featured the dance classes for children with disabilities at a private Savoy dance academy. For several years this academy existed in Lincoln Square, and was so successful that the owner built (not rented) a new facility in Savoy, rather than Urbana–again illustrating Urbana’s inability to attract and maintain distinctive businesses that serve growing families.

New medical facilities are planned for northwest Champaign.

The newly constructed shopping center on the NE corner of University and Vine, behind the new Walgreen’s remains three fourths empty. The cellphone store and loan company already there will not make Urbana a more desirable place to live. Similar neighborhood shopping centers in Savoy and Champaign fill leased much more quickly.

As of yet not virtually all national or regional specialty retailers and restaurants have chosen Champaign or Savoy rather than Bozo Urbana.

Due to years of poor economic and land use planning, Urbana is adopting a poor land use mix—as evidenced by the November 9 letter to the editor noting the detriment of the new SE Urbana Meijer location to the nearby residential neighborhood.

Considering that two decades of Urbana’s Bozo image and having disappointing economic development coincides with the tenure of Urbana’s current Chief Administrative Officer, replacement of this individual would be the best holiday present the city council and mayor could offer Urbana’s citizens.

Michael Fuerst


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