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, and that is over now. You can see what has been covered comprehensively by clicking here. If you have suggestions or ideas or feedback, feel free to contact us at [email protected].
Hello! We’ve reached the end. Who is we? Me and you? I mean, I don’t really feel like I have been traveling on this journey with anyone except Maddie Rice and Tim Bailey. Those people were hired as photographer and videographer for this project. A case of Turtle Wax, and a shot of rye for these two. I thank them for everything they put into it.
Here are some “parks” below that aren’t really parks, but rather spaces that the cities of Urbana and Champaign own, operate, and maintain. They are sorta parks however! We just don’t call them parks, because when you break it down, we are living in about the most inefficient and stupid ass system of governance you can find. Maybe anywhere. I dunno. I would have to research that, and if you’ve been reading along, I have neither the time or patience to do that sort of bullshits. I am just here to analyze parks, and in a most amateur fashion. I wear that like a signet on a ring. This is Smile Politely. It’s what we were founded upon.
Anyhow, all I know is that the idea of a park district being funded separately from the city is literally beyond comprehension to me. We don’t need a system of checks and fucking balances here. This isn’t congress. We need to use our money wisely. Our park districts and our cities being separate taxing bodies — like the idea of Champaign and Urbana being two separate cities — is a waste of that money, and a remarkable waste of resources. Two of everything. In some cases, three of everything, with UIUC stuck in the middle of it all.
This is dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb ass shit. Hello. That’s all I have to say about that particular topics.
But read on, friends. One final time. More parks, at your service:
Second Street Basin
Second Street and Springfield and White and Clark
This is a stunning example of civil engineering and thoughtful landscaping design. The City of Champaign, who so often either ignores its problems, or creates more problems with ideas that never come to fruition, knocked it out of the park with this one. This is one of my very favorite places to be in all of Champaign.
The Second Street Basin is a delight. The view of the Campustown skyline — and it very much is a skyline — is mesmerizing to me. The connectivity to Helms Park, and Scott Park, which was our very first video feature in this series, is perfect.
They just don’t know what to do with it. At least, not yet. There are some positive things happening. The Urban Market is happening here all month, and you should go! Rumor has it that Brother George’s BBQ is going to be there again soon, and people line up for this stuff. I am going to line up for it.
But yeah, outside of that, the place doesn’t even have a name yet. It’s just called Second Street Basin. I mean, I like simplicity too, but, why not be a little more creative than that? Honor someone, preferably who doesn’t identify as a male penis and is white-passing, and all that. That would be good. Yeah, not a lot of parks around named in honor of women or who are non-binary or who have melanin. Just sayin’.
Anyhow, no name, just that. Second Street Basin. And I absolutely love it. It’s awesome.
Boneyard Creek Crossing
Let’s call it Griggs and Race, Urbana
I am so impressed by what the City of Urbana did with the tired old nasty Boneyard Creek. Now it’s quite lovely. But it hasn’t gone far enough. If you read and watched my last piece on Crystal Lake Park, where this ends on Broadway Ave should immediately be attached to, and combined with, a walking / biking bridge that runs over University Avenue, and connects Downtown Urbana to Crystal Lake Park.
I do not want to hear about how we can’t afford it. Read a book, ferchrissakes. Are you making investments into your real estate holdings or not? I realize it’s not simple but if people could build bridges some 3000 years ago that are still standing today, I think we can do this together here and now.
Anyhow, I love this, and I am happy they got it started.
400 S. Vine St., Urbana
This is nothing more than a very tall and large piece of modern art, that is illuminated at night, and it is a good thing honestly. There are two benches here that you can have a heart to heart with someone you need to talk to, or a police officer about the traffic ticket you didn’t deserve. You should also probably get together with the police officer who arrested you to unpack it all. Find empathy for one another. Use art as a guide. I dunno, might be good.
Water Street Mini-Park
108 E. Water St., Urbana
This space exists next to what was once the Urbana Civic Center, the site of my most unprofessional moment in my history as a programmer of performing arts. I am still sorry for losing it on you, Joe. But you really sort of deserved it. I mean, for real, what the hell man. Who cares where we put the goddamned festival racking?
But for real: hey, I am sorry. I need you to be sorry also, my friend. Particularly if we are going to ever fix us.
Well, the place is closed now. I guess that’s that. But is it? I still believe this building could be put to extraordinary use. There is opportunity right now, in Downtown Urbana. This could be just about anything. And hey, it’s right on a mini-park too! Hmmmm… ideas!
City Park @ The Iron Post
120 S. Race St., Urbana
This is the patio of what was once known as The Iron Post. It was not well kept, and hasn’t been for years. Did you know there is a huge ass rock with commemorative stuff there? No, you didn’t, because it is almost caved into the ground from years of erosion and neglect. That is OK of course, we can’t always take care of our everythings. But we should more often.
In any event, this is a great patio. Fingers crossed and all, that something great becomes of the space. And that sculpture above that sits in the middle of this city park? Worst sculpture in Champaign-Urbana. I mean, really… what is that thing? Even Marcel DuChamp would be aghast!