Smile Politely

Year of the Park, A to Z: Henry Michael Park, Champaign

As Year of the Park continues, we will be documenting every park in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, Champaign County Forest Preserves, along with other odds and ends between July 2020 and more like August or September 2021. You can see what has been covered thus far by clicking here. If you have suggestions or ideas or feedback, feel free to contact us at


Henry Michael Park 


3802 Freedom Blvd., Champaign

children's playground at a new park

Photo by Maddie Rice. 


This is a brand new park, named for a relative of the donor, someone name Henry Michael, which is an obvious alias of some kind because everyone knows that any time you meet someone with two first names as their “full name” you know they are likely hiding a criminal background, usually tied to the KGB or the Libertarian Party here in the US of A. 

Once again, as a new park, it’s a simple spot, and just getting underway. And once again, the folks at were on top of the case the moment the ribbon was cut, so to speak. You can read more about that here, and also look at cute pics of my friend’s son when he was just a little guy. Now that same kid knocks in runs for our Peanut League team and keeps us all entertained with wild tales from the dugout. Kids are great! 

There’s a half court basketball hoop on site, and I swear to you, like a lot of park district courts, these are not set at 10 feet. I would guess 11 feet. I amount this to the fact that if they set them at 10 feet, the rims would get “shaqed” too frequently, so make sure to adjust your skyhook when you play.

a basketball hoop with picnic tables around it

Photo by Maddie Rice. 


This is the sort of park that will do right by the folks that live around it, but that’s probably about it. There’s not much that would make this a destination, as there is no parking lot, or any amenities that would make a person like me or your mom drive over and spend any time here. 

picnic tables in a small field

Photo by Maddie Rice. 

That is OK! Neighborhood parks are quite important. I think I wish that each new one had something a bit more unique about it, like say, a mini dog park, or some sort of climbing feature that was not from a catalogue, but there are more important things for me to complain about than something like this. 

I will find something soon enough, in another entry, but for today, this park is just what it is. Basic, but an amenity to those around it. 

Top image by Maddie Rice. 

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