The downtown Urbana post office building is being transformed into a community media and arts center, with the post office services remaining at their current location. On Cinco de Mayo, the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (IMC) closed on the purchase of the post office building as its new home.
The IMC will be holding a press conference on Monday, May 9th at high noon on the steps of post office building at 202 S. Broadway in Urbana. COME CELEBRATE WITH US!
"After three years of work we crossed the finish line - just in time for Radio Free Urbana to go on the air," said Mike Lehman who served on the negotiating team. WRFU 104.5 FM is scheduled to go on the air in mid-June.
The new building will also house an all-ages performance venue, artist studios and gallery, audio and video production facilities, a resource library, and community meeting space. The IMC will provide public access internet stations and free wireless connectivity in and around the building. The IMC is currently seeking tenants for its office and studio spaces.
The building boasts 30,000 square feet with a large 6,000 square foot space behind the post office lobby. "We invite the community to bring your vision, effort, and support to this new community owned and operated space," said Danielle Chynoweth, who was the chief negotiator for the purchase. "We will be holding open visioning sessions later this year to engage the community in plans for renovations." Chynoweth said the performance space may be open as early as this September.
The IMC will be listing this 91 year-old building on the Illinois Historic register. "This building is in great shape. We care about historic preservation and want the community to be able to enjoy this building for decades to come" said Chynoweth.
The IMC has raised $75,000 so far in private donations to purchase a building. "It's amazing. The community came forward to support us even before we found a building" said Sascha Meinrath, who heads the capital campaign. "Now that we have a beautiful downtown location, finishing our initial campaign should be easy." The IMC received no funds from the city and is 100% privately supported.
The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center is a grassroots, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization committed to using media production and distribution as tools for promoting social and economic justice. The UC-IMC acts as the fiscal sponsor of the global Indymedia network of over 150 independent media centers across 6 continents. Independent Media Centers empower people to "become the media" by providing democratic access to new technologies and information. IMC reporters are everyday citizens, covering the stories and events that matter to them.