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

Town Center Park  

LOCATION

2427 N. Neil St., Champaign 


HISTORY AND FEATURES

This "park" was donated to the Champaign Park District in 1998 by the BankIllinois Trust Co. and by men named Thomas Kauffmann and Pat Fitzgerald. And my oh my, what a scam! Basically, this is just a big ass plot of lawn, with no amenities, nothing to do, nothing to see, just a place for a bunch of Canadian geese to shit on a lawn. 

geese walking on green grass Photo by Maddie Rice. 

ASSESSMENT

I don't truly know how this came to pass, and honestly, I don't think I want to know. I asked the Champaign Park District about it, but I haven't heard back yet, but I didn't really give them a lot of time. When they respond, I'll update the article. 

Believe me, I am not saying that the people who live at these apartments don't deserve a lovely green space to play soccer on, or a place to have a picnic with a new polyamorous family that someone may be considering as lovers. I am all for it! But this should not be a public park project that the taxing body should be responsible for in any way unless the Park District is going to hone in and make it something worthwhile. And honestly, they shouldn't. 

This is a not a good park, and should be dissolved immediately, somehow. The Park District did tell me they contract for lawncare but everything else is handled by the property owners. But I don't see why we are paying to mow this grass, honestly. The people that run the Select Property Group, who I discovered runs the leasing at these apartments, should be the ones taking care of it on behalf of those who pay rent to them to live there. I mean, look at this: 

a big open green lawn Photo by Maddie Rice.

That's a lot of grass!

And why the hell is it called Town Center Park? Ain't in the town center, not even close to the damn town center. It's on the outskirts, and frankly, this ain't a damned town. It's a city. It's a small one, but I resent it when people call Champaign-Urbana a "town." Do towns have multiple hospitals with heliports? World class performing arts centers? What about multiple buildings that reach 20 stories high? Do towns have city councils that don't do shit about problems for years at a time? 

Wait... sorry, yeah, OK but you know what I mean. This ain't a town. And this "park" ain't at the center. I am actually really angry about this. OK not actually, but it's annoying anyhow. 

It should be Kauffmann and Fitzgerald Park. Let them wear it. This can be their legacy. 

This is going to likely be Bottom 5 on Worst to First when I am done with this whole thing. Hard to say, but I think this is the worst park I have looked at, but then again, I haven't yet gotten to McCollum Park yet, and whoooooo boy do I have some things to say about that as well...

Top image by Maddie Rice.