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Urbana Seeks Feedback Through ‘Imagine Urbana’ Website

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Downtown Urbana at sunset, as displayed on the front page of the ImagineUrbana.com website. The city of Urbana launched the website in February, to gather public input for its comprehensive plan.

URBANA – A new website is asking you to post your thoughts and suggestions about Urbana, whether you live there, or spend time there.

The website is imagineurbana.com. It was launched February 5 to gather public input as the city of Urbana begins work on its new comprehensive plan.

Andrea Reudi is overseeing the project as the city’s senior advisor for integrated strategy development. She says they want to learn what people like about Urbana, and what people think needs improvement.

“We’re not going to deter negative comments,” said Reudi. “You know, we need to hear that kind of feedback. In fact, it’s probably even more important than some of the nicer things we hear about our city.”

Reudi says at imagineurbana.com, people can post ideas, fill out a short survey, and mark places on a city map with comments and photos.

In its first week, just a handful of people have posted comments at imagineurbana.com. On the website’s “Idea Wall,” one comment calls for “regular attention to road maintenance and repairs,” while another wants “to see funding for police redirected to mental health services, local homelessness resources, and other social services.”

The city of Urbana is expected to take two years to revise its comprehensive plan, which was last updated around 2005. The state-mandated city policy guide usually focuses on land use, infrastructure and development.

But Urbana mayor Diane Marlin says she wants this new edition of the plan to cover a broader field.

“Things like arts and culture, climate resilience, sustainability, racial and social justice, recreational opportunities,” said Marlin. “I wanted people to think what the Urbana of the future should look like, what kind of city do they want to live in, how should it look, how should it feel?”

Marlin says imagineurbana.com isn’t just for Urbana residents, but also for anyone who comes to the city to work, study, shop or run a business.

Andrea Reudi says it will take about two years for city officials to complete their update of Urbana’s comprehensive plan, and she hopes imagineurbana.com will be taking public input throughout the process. She says there are plans for getting public comment through other ways, such as a survey sent via texting. And once COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, Reudi is hoping the city can hold public meetings on the topic.

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Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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