It’s prime time for picnic season, and we’re reviving one of our most popular features — Chambana Parks to Know — just in time. If you have a park that you’re crazy about, we’d love to know all about it. We welcome your contributions at [email protected] or here.
PARK NAME: Morrissey Park
LOCATION: Harrington and Plymouth Drive, Champaign. To get there, take Windsor Road to Galen and go north on Galen to Harrington. Turn left on Harrington and you’ll run right into the park. Street parking available.
AMENITIES: Tennis courts; walking path; sledding hill; shady picnic area; playground equipment; baseball backstop; soccer field.
GOOD FOR: all ages
LAURA’S TAKE: Morrissey Park is one of the gems in the Champaign Park system. It’s not as vast as Dodds, not as central as Hessel, and not as historic as West Side, but Morrissey Park has some unique features that make it worth a look — and a picnic destination.
Probably my favorite feature of the park is the walking path. Hessel Park also has a walking path; there are about half a dozen parks with paths in Champaign. But the nice thing about Morrissey Park’s walking path is that you can do circles around the playground and never really lose sight of it. It’s nice if you want to get a walk in while the kids are playing, or if you have a younger child who you want to take a walk with in the stroller.
The walking path is also a great place for kids to ride bikes, scooters, rollerskates, rollerblades or anything else on wheels. (We also like that the drinking fountain works — most of the time.) And since it’s not as crowded as Hessel, no one seems to mind. We also give a big thumbs up to the dog stations – complete with biodegradable bags for picking up after your pooch.
Morrissey Park has a lot of areas to explore. My kids love to run up and down the “hill” which is a great place for the younger set to sled in the winter. And in the southern area of the park, there are lots of trees with picnic tables and barbeque pits. The tennis courts are extremely popular and have enticed my 5-year-old on many an occasion.
The playground equipment at Morrissey is a nothing special, but my kids never seem to tire of it. It has two large slides and one smaller slide. They could use a few more baby swings for as many toddlers/babies who frequent there; two are often not enough. (I could do without the sandbox but that’s a story for another day. Perhaps I should start the “Mothers Against Sandboxes” support group.)
One con for the park: although there is a lot of shade in some areas, there is hardly any near the playground. And although Harrington is a residential street that doesn’t connect Mattis and Prospect, it (inexplicably) has a 30 mph posted speed limit, and cars are often going way too fast as they drive past the park.
Morrissey Park is located between Windsor Road and Harrington Drive in South Champaign; you can see the park as you drive down Windsor.
Do you have a favorite walking path or trail? Where is it? Let us know — fill out our “Park to Know” contributor form and we can share your favorite in no time!