By Emily Harrington
For a while now, I’ve admired the area on Second Street by Scott Park. It’s all pond and hardscape and trickling water and wildlife.
It’s beauty, however, disguises a dirty little secret — flooding. The City of Champaign identifies problem areas that have consistent standing water either from stormwater runoff due to expansive pavement or because they sit at a low elevation. Typically, a pond is dredged to collect this water. Nice enough, right? Well, they have taken a problem and found a superior solution that is beneficial in many ways. Overall, an awesome addition to our existing walking paths and park system. I am calling them, “decorated drainage basins.”
- Glenn Park Basin—Glenn Park Drive at 400 N. Mattis Ave. in Champaign. Recently a new playground was added to Glenn Park. This was done in anticipation of a larger scale project, the Glenn Park Basin. The multi-phase project has come together beautifully. It is an ideal place to shoot hoops on the existing court, play at the park on the new equipment, take a walk on the 1/3-mile path or have lunch under one of two eating areas with tables and chairs (a pergola or a gazebo). The entire basin is essentially a very large pond. It’s massive, and it’s smack dab in the middle of a quiet, residential neighborhood. There are places to park.
- Preservation Pond—Washington/Russell Streets in Champaign. A huge gazebo with seating overlooks a large pond. The pond is outlined in lush grasses and stacked rocks. Again, smack dab in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. Take your lunch here. Walk your dog here. Stroll your little one here. A wide ¼-mile path is the perfect place to have an adventure. You’ll have to find parking on the street.
- Second Street Basin—Second/White Streets in Champaign. This massive body of water (part of the Boneyard Creek) has beautiful landscaping surrounding it. There is also a ½-mile path overlooking the water. An incredible stone bridge adds a lot of visual interest, and it provides the potential for troll tales. You’ll see a lot of wildlife here. Once, a rabbit even let me get so close I could almost touch it. It’s a super neat place. There are often white ducks you can feed. Make sure to bring some stale bread! Bring some eats, and you too can enjoy a bite under the umbrella-covered tables. You may even hear the trickle of the babbling water. My little ones like to put a piece of grass where the water begins, and we watch it go all the way down and dump into the falls of the basin. There are GREAT rocks to climb all around. There are parking areas accessible from Second Street. If you cross Springfield Avenue, you will be in Scott Park. The water system continues with an adorable bridge and short path, too. The northern extension off University Avenue is part of the Second Street basin. It was designed and built along with the larger Second Street Basin.
Speaking of Boneyard Creek, visit the viewing area on Race Street in Urbana, across from Silvercreek Restaurant. There is always a neat sculpture to look at, and there is a ramp to get close to the creek. Follow this creek through the University of Illinois Campus to see all the updates and hardscaping. These visual touches make the creek such a cool addition to our community.
Carle at The Fields, by the Stephens Family YMCA, has multiple basins with pretty fountains. They light up at night! Go for a night walk here on their meandering paths.
At all places, watch for geese poop! Also, there aren’t any regulations against fishing at this time. However, the creators don’t want fish hooks left around the basins. If this becomes a problem, rules may be put into place. They have also not stocked the basins with fish.
Go family adventuring at these locations. Each of them has a little bit of everything mother nature has to offer!
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.