City of Champaign | Recruitment

TJ Blakeman

  • City of Champaign Position: City Planner in the Advanced Planning Division
  • # of years employed with the City of Champaign: 5 years
  • Top 3 favorite things about Champaign: Downtown Champaign, Tree covered streets, University of Illinois Football
  • Favorite places to eat in Champaign: Dos Reales, Manzella’s Pizza, Za’s
  • Favorite places to relax after work: Esquire, Illini Inn, Seven Saints, Boltini.
  • Best annual event in Champaign: Downtown Festival of the Arts and Parade of Lights.
What are you proudest of about Champaign?

I’m proud that we are starting to see ourselves as more than a sleepy Midwestern town. I like that Champaign is regarded as a fun city to live in.

What are your impressions about the people of Champaign?

Friendly. The good thing about that sleepy Midwestern attitude is that people are genuinely friendly and willing to participate and help out.

Where do you go for fun in Champaign?

For the most part it’s going with friends in Downtown Champaign or Campustown. There is an occasional trip to the Putt-Putt course and other times we try and find fun and unique things like Alto Vineyard.

What do you think about downtown Champaign?

Downtown Champaign is a great place to be and will only get better as Campustown and Downtown continue to grow.

Best live performance you’ve seen in Champaign?

I wish I went to more concerts but I find myself only going to the Downtown Streetfests. I love the Brat Pack and Feuding Hillbillies. I have seen operas and symphonies at Krannert.

What’s your favorite thing about working for the City of Champaign?

The Co-workers. The atmosphere is family-like and unlike any environment I have ever worked in.

How do you think your job helps make Champaign a better place to live?

That is what I love most about my job; the ability to affect real change in the place I call home. I get to see the direct results of ordinances I draft or plans that I create everyday. Hopefully those are making Champaign a “better” place to live!

What do you like most about the values of the organization?

They are built around customer service. That is my highest value and I like that it fits with the City. I believe we have a friendly and helpful staff and hopefully that gets even better during my time here.