Smile Politely

Skelton Park will be transformed to a park plaza honoring African American musicians

A wooden sign has the words Skelton Park carved into it. It's standing in a field of grass, with leafy green trees in the background.
Maddie Rice

The Champaign County African American Heritage Trail community project was launched in 2021 by organizers Barbara Suggs Mason and Angela Rivers with support from the Visit Champaign County Foundation. A fundraising drive is now in the works to facilitate the transformation of Skelton Park, located at the corner of Washington and First Street in Champaign, to a “state-of-the-art park, plaza, and performance area that celebrates Champaign County’s African American musicians.” The new design will include a play area, plaza for small gatherings, a seating wall and slope for performance viewing, pathways, and a steel sculpture designed by African American artist Preston Jackson.

Those interested in donating to the project can purchase and inscribe a brick that will be installed in a pathway through the park. Further financial support will come from the Rotary Club in Champaign, in partnership with the Champaign Rotary Foundation.

Skelton Park is named for the late Arthur and Audrey Skelton, former Champaign Rotary members, the park. It might be a nice touch to change the park’s name to honor an African American musician from Champaign County.

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