As Year of the Park continues, we will be documenting every park in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, Champaign County Forest Preserves, along with other odds and ends between July 2020 and more like August or September 2021. You can see what has been covered thus far by clicking here. If you have suggestions or ideas or feedback, feel free to contact us at info@smilepolitely.com.

NAME

William A. Smith Park 

LOCATION

200 Prairie Rose Lane, Savoy 

a children's plaground
Photo by Maddie Rice.

HISTORY AND FEATURES

After a few very passionate folks on Facebook went ape about what I wrote about Dohme Park, I really am gonna try to just focus on the good things about William A. Smith Park in Savoy. I want to love Savoy. Help me love Savoy, Savoy! I mean, there's not a lack of money in the community, but outside of what's been in place for a while, and you all falling into Triptych by chance, help me understand what I am supposed to do in this village, this singular suburb of Champaign-Urbana. 

Anyhow, in this park, which is named for William A. Smith — who I am pretty certain is Bill Smith, a long time commissioner in the village — has a nice playground, which you can see above. That is good. The park serves as the recreational area for Carrie Busey Elementary School, as well. That is good, too. 

There is a baseball diamond, which is always a good thing! Baseball is the greatest sport to ever be realized and pursued by humans, and it's not even close. Okay, maybe cricket. Soccer, okay, okay, I will grant you, this is a good sport. Tennis, too. I like basketball and football, too. But baseball, I dunno, there's something special about this particular game.

Good looking ball diamond here; grass infield. All right, y'all. Nice job. 

the side of a baseball diamond in a park Photo by Maddie Rice.

Travis Field! I don't know who Travis is, or was, but I sure like the band Travis for a hot minute back in my younger years. Here's the most pathetic indie-pop style major label 5th wave British invasion song you can imagine. But it's a nice one: 

There is a Little Lending Library on site as well, and that is a positive thing too. Hey, did you know that or Managing Editor Jess Hammie mapped all of these lil' libraries in the city? She did! And, you can look at where they all are here

a little lending library in a park Photo by Maddie Rice. 

ASSESSMENT

"It is important for every community to set aside significant amounts of land for green space and recreation," said village board member Bill Smith. "This park is an investment in our community's future."

I found this quote in an old 2004 Gazoo article, speaking about Colbert Park, and I like it. Here he is again, talking about it in 2009! Let's break it down: 

  • an acknowledgment of the importance of green space and recreation
  • coming from an elected official, quoted in the paper of record, here in C-U 
  • the word "investment" and "future" are prominently featured in the final sentence 
  • this man must be a socialist hippie, let's do a J and talk more 

See, I like this. William A. Smith, or Bill, I believe, is a man who presumably has a park named in his honor, and is on record talking about how important this network of support is, and what it provides. A taxing body. Everyone chipping in to make something vital, and robust! Together!

So let's see it Savoy. You named a park after this man. So, listen to his words of wisdom. Here are some more words of wisdom

- "a rolling stone gathers no moss

- "women; can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em"

- "don't wash your dirty underwear in public

I have so many friends and loved ones living in Savoy, and they swear by it. I am just looking for a new reason to show up and have some fun. I've been to those places of business that the village gets to claim. Skateland. Savoy 16. Senator's Inn. Old Orchard. The pool at the Best Western who will let you drink on the deck if you are cool about it. Colbert Park! Yes, I like it!

A Colbert Park review will come soon enough, and we can talk about how it's a great start to a potentially very cool park. It's already a good park, honestly. 

But I want more. Show me art. Show me thoughtful curation. Show me investment. Yes, investment! Show me that you care enough about your best strengths that you are willing to invest in them. Show me that you actually listen to your elected officials like Bill Smith, a socialist, a former village trustee with a soft spot for the importance of green space. 

I am counting on you, Savoy. Don't let me die without feeling sensational about this. Thank you. I don't want to die with Savoy being afraid to live! 

Top image by Maddie Rice.