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Campus Engagement in Our Unit

Washington Historic Commercial Square

Creating a local Historic Commercial district is the focus of a UIUC Department of Urban and Regional Planning Capstone project. Marcia Klop, Graduate Student in Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UIUC is working with University of Illinois Extension, City of Washington Economic Developer, local businesses and historic preservation specialists from throughout the state in her study.

The City of Washington, Illinois has a rich history spanning almost 200 years. The Washington Square, the heart of the historic downtown, specifically illustrates a history of shops, banks, and doctors that all played key roles in the establishment of the town as a whole. The Square today retains the majority of the original architecture from its establishment in the 1830s, and has been the site for many important community events over its 185 years. In addition to its role as the central business center, the Square was used as a meeting place during the Civil War, and was also an important stop on Abraham Lincoln's campaign trail for many years.


Washington Square Commercial Local Historic District Resource Book

Washington Square Commercial Local Historic District Design Review Guidelines

Washington Square Commercial Local Historic District Ordinance


As a community and economic development educator, Kathie Brown worked with community leaders, government officials, volunteer groups, small business owners, and others to help communities become stronger and more economically viable. She focused on leadership and organizational development; local government education and relations; economic development strategies; participatory community planning/visioning processes; group process facilitation; collaboration and partnership building; public issue education; and understanding, using and developing data.

Prior to retirement in 2021, Brown worked with organizations and local governments to help them: (1) analyze and understand their needs, (2) identify alternative courses of action, (3) make informed decisions, (4) plan for the future and (5) evaluate their development efforts.

Kathie worked for Extension for almost 40 years, contributing to programs related to community health, digital literacy, STEAM education, and more.