IMC Statement

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The IMC Emergency Response Team released the following statement on May 19th, 2003:
On Thursday,May 8, the City of Urbana shut down the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (IMC) performance space for code violations. The IMC deeply regrets this situation and wishes to comply fully with the Urbana Fire Code.
We are pleased to say that after meeting with officials from the City of Urbana,many misunderstandings have been resolved, and city officials are supportive of our efforts to serve the community. We have been assured by the city that the office space; library; radio, video, and print production room; and art gallery areas of the IMC will remain open. Meetings with less than 50 people will continue at the IMC. Our community space is still open during scheduled hours. However our music venue space is now closed.
Throughout the community center’s existence, the IMC has acted in good faith in regard to fire code compliance and will continue to act in good faith in the future. Problems arose not only from fire code issues, but also from lack of communication from the City of Urbana before, during, and immediately after the most recent inspections. The IMC has consistently been transparent with the City of Urbana about the use of the room as a performance space, and has publicly advertised events for the past year and a half. The performance space, the focus of the recent citations, was inspected eight months ago and the minor issues raised at that time were promptly resolved. All of the major violations that have been cited by the city preexisted the IMC’s use of the space and the majority of the issues preexisted the annual inspection that occurred eight months ago.
After an inspection on May 5, the City gave the IMC twenty-four days to complete six repairs in order to comply with the Urbana Fire Code. The violations were not deemed serious enough by inspectors to warrant closing the performance space to public use. Within 48 hours, IMC members formed a plan of action and began fixing the problems. On Thursday, May 8, officials returned unexpectedly to the IMC and issued an official notice of closure. The IMC was not informed of why this sudden change in requirements had occurred. The closure forced the IMC to cancel several performances that were to occur over Mother’s Day weekend.
While the IMC will complete the minor repairs in the meeting space necessary to ensure the safety of the building’s occupants, the IMC is a tenant at 218 W. Main. Several major repairs require action from the owner of the building.
The IMC has been a vital part of the downtown Urbana economic ecology. The IMC brings many people each week into downtown Urbana to produce media, view art, meet with other community members, and hear a wide range of music. The hundreds of people who visit the IMC each week patronize many other downtown Urbana businesses.
In the short term we will be forced to cancel some performances. The IMC is seeking temporary relocation alternatives for our shows. The IMC’s goal is to provide a safe and educational space for youth and adults alike. The only long-term solution to the current situation that will serve best the community is to acquire a new space.
To this end, we are kicking our Capital Campaign into high gear. This campaign will raise funds to purchase a permanent home for the IMC. The IMC will not be able to reopen our previous performance space, but we hope within the next 12 months to buy a building of our own that complies with all city requirements for a public assembly space. Our goal is to raise $100,000 by December; we have already raised over $30,000 towards that goal in just a few short months.
If you would like to help with the Capital Campaign or become a member of the IMC please contact the Independent Media Center at 344-8820 or

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