Champaign could soon be for the birds. The city council there will soon consider regulations allowing people to raise chickens. Those who are interested want them for eggs, perhaps for meat, and maybe even for companionship. A diverse group has egged on the mayor.

“The person who spearheaded this is a top administrative aide in the dean’s office of the University of Illinois,” says Mayor Don Gerard. “It was an interesting group; we had some Birkenstock-wearers, and we had some people who wear suits to work.”

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Gerard says the back-to-basics movement, along with a thriving arts scene and downtown shopping, are part of what’s making Champaign a destination in the mold of Austin, Texas, and Madison, Wis.

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