By Emily Harrington
For weeks, even months this winter, I drove around “The Trails at Abbey Fields” in search of this new park. I found a LOT of new construction. A round-a-bout. The future home of Judah Christian High School. Some patient neighbors. And FINALLY, from the seemingly far away country road I was circling the subdivision on, I saw colorful equipment contrasting with the icy, white ground.
HALLELUJAH. I found the finished Commissioners Park! The park sits at the corner of (902) Glen Abbey and Oakdale Drives. The subdivision is located west of Staley Road, just north of Kirby Avenue.
This new Champaign Park District park has features I haven’t seen at other parks around town. When I was asking the patient neighbors where the park was, you could tell they were very excited about the new addition to their neighborhood.
Commissioner’s Park is a small park; however, it’s perfect for a visit if you live close, or if you are in the neighborhood. It features:
- a lot of open space to run and play.
- kind neighbors.
- no parking lots/no traffic.
- the opportunity for team sports. There’s half-court basketball, and there’s an unlined soccer field with goals.
- unique playground pieces.
- walking trails (¼ mile). Bring anything with wheels!
Tips for Your Trip from Other Parents
- Bring a meal to share. Eat dinner at the perfect family-sized pavilion.
- Bring kites if it’s windy. Bring bikes, scooters or strollers if you’re going to stroll. There aren’t a lot of trees, or anything obscuring the sky there. Perfect for kite flying.
- Don’t drive if you don’t have to. This is a neighborhood. There’s no parking lot. So, be prepared to park on the street.
- If you aren’t from the subdivision, put the address into your GPS. Or, at least the crossroads.
- Make sure you know how to maneuver a round-a-bout. There is one that sits at the entrance of the subdivision.
- Again, there are no mature trees, so you need to wear sunscreen! Look for little trees to be planted soon.
Is this park good for toddlers?
Yes, however, unlike many parks, there is just one structure. There is not a big and a little. However, this is a medium-sized structure, and there are low stairs. If you are comfortable, I think they’ll be OK. There are also baby swings. According to the CPD, however, the structure is suitable for kids ages 2 to 12.
What amenities are offered?
Commissioners Park offers many amenities, including:
- a modified swing. (Watch out for the closing latch on the modified swing. It can come down fast.)
- a pavilion.
- unique features like a kaleidoscope, sand pit and sun shade on the equipment. It also has a bell, curvy slides, stacked logs to climb on, a vertical merry-go-round with handles to control speed and a yellow school bus to play pretend!
- potential to grow. The CPD has developed 5 acres for now. The whole property is about 20 acres. This is large for a neighborhood park. The rest will be “low mow.” Even this area will have a grass path. The city does not anticipate the surrounding area will be developed immediately. The master plan will be reassessed when the time comes. Eventually, the Pipeline Trail, however, will run through the east side of the park.
How are the bathrooms?
There are no bathrooms. However, there are lots of nice neighbors. You could always ask! Based on traffic, the CPD will evaluate the need for portable potties.
Are there picnic tables and grills?
Yes! Underneath a nice pavilion, there is a table.
Is there any shade?
There aren’t any shady, mature trees. However, there is a shade structure over the playground. Basically, it’s an umbrella for the equipment.
When is this park open?
Dawn to dusk.
What is parking like?
There’s on-street parking.
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.