– State Senator Paul Faraci announced that North First Street in Champaign is being recognized as a State-Designated Cultural District.

"This designation will allow Champaign to receive additional funding specifically tailored to its historical and cultural identity,” said Faraci (D-Champaign) “Champaign is a special place to me, and I love to see new opportunities for economic development that protect residents and business owners in the community.”

State-Designated Cultural Districts are communities, towns or specific geographic areas that have a distinct shared historical and cultural identity that binds the community together. The purpose of the program is to encourage economic development, support the preservation and development of history and culturally significant structures, traditions and languages, foster local cultural development and education, provide a focal point for celebrating communities’ unique cultural identities, and promote equitable growth and opportunity without generating displacement.

“This designation creates a framework for both preservation and celebration of North First Street’s unique cultural heritage,” said City of Champaign Community Relations Manager Janel Gomez. “Though there are not yet plans for the area, the City is excited about the possibility of funding small business development programs or place making opportunities that celebrate the African American heritage in Champaign County.”

The new North First Street Cultural District will now be eligible to apply for $3 million in funding to foster economic development and help the community preserve its unique cultural identity.

To see a full list of the new cultural districts across the state, click here.