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 [email protected]

NAME

Wisegarver Park

LOCATION

1702 Lakeside Dr., Champaign


HISTORY AND FEATURES

Unless you went to Carrie Busey Elementary, or more recently, International Prep Academy, or happened to have a relative who plays softball on one of the fields at the site of Wisegarver Park, you'd likely never know that it even exists. Donated in 1986, this park encompasses 2.8 acres, and was gifted to the city by... Mr. Wisegarver.

construction site inside of a park Photo by Maddie Rice. 

Right now the park is basically closed due to the construction of a brand new school for IPA. There are two ball fields, which is good, but they are unkempt and overgrown, with old chain link fences that have seen better days. There are soccer goals, too. The children's playground is technically part of IPA, but I am confident that if you took the kids there after hours, or hell even during hours, they could play there. 

But that's about all. 

ASSESSMENT

Wisegarver is an unremarkable park in the truest sense; another victim of a Park District with too many inherited parks currently, but without the budget to put forth something memorable, or meaningful, in all of them. An organization like the CPD has choices to make: sock a bunch of money into all of its parks? Or put together programming that meets the interests and needs of countless residents in Champaign? Go with Option B. I concur. 

This bench says it all:

an old wooden bench Photo by Maddie Rice. 

In the end, it's something of a zero sum game. Sort of, anyhow. Unless we choose to put more money into the parks system, we are going to live with forgettable spaces that could be so much more. 

Wisegarver Park exists in reality, but that is just about it. 

Top image by Maddie Rice.