Champaign officials have denied that they are building a portal to hell at the corner of Springfield and 2nd streets. They claim that the large, water-filled hole in the ground is merely a water detention project.
However, new documents secured by the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that the detention basin is actually intended to summon forth demons from the deep to punish the political opponents of the Champaign City Council. When asked about it, Mayor Schweighart said: “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Construction of the portal began last year, in the summer of 2009, amidst public outcry that two full city blocks of pristine student tenements and empty lots were being cleared for the project.
Documents reveal that portal is not expected to be completed until next year, because camouflaging a portal to the underworld as a water retention basin has been trickier than expected. Also, workers are digging cautiously, because if they dig too fast and too deep, they fear accidentally awakening a Balrog, and the fixed-price contract does not contain time or money to recruit a grey-class wizard to defeat a Balrog over a lake of fire.
The final design of the chasm will include a green, park-like space around the rim. Planners are hoping this will entice enough young people to walk by, thus providing a steady supply of fresh souls to be fed into the portal for its maintenance and operation.
The Champaign City Council had decided to create the portal after the Eye of Sauron was installed and hidden within a bell tower in 2008 at the University of Illinois. With so many students now serving the Dark Lord instead of studying, many in Champaign felt they needed to get people’s attention again.
Councilman Tom Bruno was an early proponent of installing the Sarlaac used by Jabba the Hut, which slowly digests political rivals over a period of 1,000 years. He felt this would focus community activists on protesting only about really important things. However, this proposal was tabled when no suitable Sarlaac could be located on Earth.
Michael LaDue, also fresh from a Star Wars marathon, suggested the city could simply freeze unhappy citizens into carbonite tablets, to be displayed in public parks around the city as object lessons. “People would whine a lot less about public servants if the penalty for frivolous complaints was a lifetime stuck inside a carbonite tablet.”
However, Marci Dodds gained the backing of the mayor after pointing out that a portal to hell could also reduce the city’s carbon footprint if vents were installed to warm the city on cold days. When objections were raised about the sulfurous smell of such heat, Dodds claimed all such complaints could be blamed on the Kraft food-processing plant west of town.
Rumors abound that Urbana is considering responding by installing a Mordor-like gate to a private kingdom where orcs and goblins will serve the people of Urbana. Another proposal is to dig for the river Styx and levy a tax on the ferryman as a way to increase tourism revenue. Neither of these rumors can be confirmed, however.
In the meantime, Champaign residents have about a year left of enjoying sunshine and family life before hosts of demons emerge from the underworld to do the bidding of the city council.