A nature playscape features a variety of natural geographical elements that allow children to utilize the entire site for exploration. The playscape at Homer Lake has proven to be a popular area attraction.
“The ground, trees, hills, logs, climbing structures, tunnels and other parts of the geography all allow for play and learning,” said Judy Miller, the Urbana Park District’s environmental program manager. “Urbana Park District staff members have visited other nature play sites in the Midwest and have used what we saw at those sites, along with what local children told us about outdoor play, to plan our own unique play space that emulates local geographies and habitats.”
The public can view project plans and interact with some of the expected play elements, according to project manager Caitlin Lill.
“We encourage everyone to offer their ideas and reactions to the concepts we have in this first part of the design phase,” Lill said. “A play space like this one is going to be better the more we know about what elements are most appealing to our neighbors and community.”
The project is expected to cost approximately $100,000 and will begin in 2016. The park district committed up to $200,000 in capital funds for the project. It will also seek state and federal grants as available.
The playscape is part of a larger improvement plan, expected to cost $500,000, for the north end of Crystal Lake Park. It will include parking upgrades, a pavilion, connecting paths and a council ring — stone benches in a natural setting to serve as a gathering area.