By Kelly Youngblood
The countdown to summer is on and so is the opening of a brand new “splash pad” in Champaign.
The Douglass Park Splash Pad will be revealed this weekend during the Grand Reopening of Douglass Park, which will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. Douglass Park is located at 512 E. Grove St. in Champaign.
The purpose of the grand reopening, which will include music, refreshments, and a pop-up adventure play event, is to celebrate all of the updates that have occurred at Douglass Park since renovations began last fall.
Those updates, which totaled about $1 million, include a new splash pad, a half-mile fitness trail with outdoor exercise equipment, a new playground and a refurbished pavilion.
Chelsea Norton, marketing manager for the Champaign Park District, said the improved park will give area residents “resources to be fit and active and to engage with parks and the community more.”
“There’s just a million benefits to that,” Norton said. “The Douglass (Park) community really will benefit from something like this.”
The splash pad is only the second of its kind to open in Champaign. The first is located at Hessel Park. Regular hours of operation for the splash pad at Douglass Park have not been set yet but will be announced soon, Norton said.
The splash pad and other upgrades at Douglass Park began last fall. The Champaign Park District conducted a needs assessment in 2012, which helped determine what improvement residents in the area wanted to see. From there, the park district decided which projects to take on.
The playground structure is entirely new and was designed with the help of students in the Douglass Community Center after-school program. Although the kids didn’t get the slide made of Doritos they were hoping for, Norton said the playground is great because there’s something for everybody.
The fitness trail is .6 miles and includes 11 strength training stations (ab crunch/leg lift, assisted row/push-up, balance steps, cardio stepper, chest/back press, mobility station, plyometrics, pull-up/dip, squat press, stretching station, tai chi wheels).
“You can get your cardio in as you’re walking or running and then stop and do some strength building,” Norton said.
“This is going to service a part of our community that will really benefit from the free health resources,” she added.