Downtown Urbana is the heart of our city. Downtown is more than just central to the day-to-day life of our community; to many residents it represents the community as a whole. Not only do we visit Downtown to shop and enjoy some of the City's best food and beverages, but also to take part in community celebrations, regional festivals, and commemorative ceremonies. We attend the Downtown farmer's market not just to buy fresh, local foods but also to build a sense of community. At Downtown's institutions, we attend to courthouse matters, mail a letter, and browse the library. But additionally our civic buildings and historic architecture contribute substantially to our community heritage and self identity. While its role has changed over the decades, Downtown remains at the heart of Urbana and its identity.
The purpose of the 2012 Downtown Plan is to expand upon downtown's recent success and guide future growth to match the needs of our community. This plan identifies opportunities for:
- Better connecting Downtown with the community, the University of Illinois, and the region;
- Creation of a "critical mass" necessary to make Downtown a more vibrant and competitive destination;
- Optimal uses of buildings spaces for Downtown success;
- Increasing residents in the immediate downtown;
- Additional welcoming outdoor public gathering spaces;
- Filling key building vacancies and underdeveloped land; and
- Filling gaps in downtown's urban pedestrian core
The 2012 Downtown Plan is based upon extensive public input and was guided by a Steering Committee composed of representative stakeholders in the Downtown's future. The plan articulates the following vision for the future of downtown Urbana and identifies the following seven key goals to achieve that vision:
Downtown Urbana is the heart of our city. It is built at a human scale and embraces the historic urban fabric, while also promoting a high quality of compatible new building development in appropriate locations. It is an economically vibrant environment with welcoming public spaces and an active arts and culture scene. Downtown is accessible to all and well connected to surrounding neighborhoods and to the University. The mix of businesses, residences and other attractions in our downtown helps to promote sustable, healthy lifestyles.
Seven Key Goals
- Strengthen economic activity in downtown Urbana
- Promote context-appropriate urban-style infill development to extend downtown's core character
- Increase downtown's vitality by attracting more residents and visitors
- Develop engaging public spaces and streetscapes
- Improve mobility to and within downtown
- Protect and enhance the character of downtown
- Reduce downtown Urbana's environmental impact
To read more about how the 2012 Downtown Urbana Plan will be used to make a positive impact in future projects and developments in the Downtown area and to learn more about the background and planning process that were used to create the document, please refer to the attachment below.