Here & There – Champaign/Urbana, IL
Champaign/Urbana, IL –
Home to the University of Illinois, the area’s largest employer, Champaign-Urbana manages a fluctuating population of 44,000 students during the course of the academic year, creating stiff competition for appealing housing and interesting challenges for the city’s service industries.
The University provides plenty of entertainment options during the school year with Big Ten sporting events and a full performing arts calendar. While the Taste of Champaign, Blues, Brews & BBQ and the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival are popular annual summertime events, none hold a candle to the huge crowds at the Decatur Celebration, downstate Illinois’ largest free family street festival. Over the past two years, new hotel rooms have been added or are under construction in both cities, providing additional accommodations for frequent visitors, with 360 in Champaign/Urbana and 311 in Decatur.
Green space in Champaign/Urbana comes at a premium with only 1096 acres compared to over 2000 acres in Decatur. And, without a body of water the size of Lake Decatur, water sports are limited to a few small lakes and ponds.
Similar to Decatur’s focus, Champaign’s opportunity for population growth is to create an environment where working professionals want to live. According to Laura Weis, president of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, “there’s a concern about growing our population, and attracting quality academics to our community. That’s why our redevelopment efforts focus on housing and entertainment in the city’s core area.”
But, Champaign is battling a high crime index that is well over the national average, while Decatur’s crime index is substantially lower. According to the latest statistical data, per 10,000 residents, Champaign experienced 56% more violent crime than Decatur*.
Even though a low cost of living index is similar in both cities, Decatur residents pay considerably less in property taxes than in Champaign/Urbana – the median property tax paid in 2013 in Decatur is $1903, compared to $3315 in Champaign.
Vital Statistics Decatur, IL Champaign, IL
Population: 74,710 83,424
Median HH Income: $38,974 $38,683
Median Home Value: $82,600 $141,500
Median Property Taxes Paid: $1,903 $3,315
Cost of Living Index: 84.5 88.3
150 Glencoe Avenue
Square Feet: 2238
Style: Traditional 2-story
Near bike trail and parks, Dennis Lab School (K-8,) hardwood floors, built-ins, gas fireplace, screened porch, landscaped back yard.
1903 Crescent Drive
Square Feet: 1638
Good size rental property in prime location, family room could be 4th bedroom, long-term tenants.
*Federal Bureau of Investigations, Crime in United States, 2014, Table 6.
Home information provided by Realtor.com. Community information provided by the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and City-data.com.
This article originally appeared in the February/March 2016 issue of Decatur Magazine. It may not be reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part without the publisher’s consent.
© Copyright 2016 Decatur Magazine – First String Productions. All rights reserved.