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 email@example.com.
3212 Clayton Rd., Champaign
HISTORY AND FEATURES
Back in 1988, when Powell Park was developed by the Champaign Park District, the world was very different, indeed. There was a hotly contested election on the horizon. Was it going to be Michael Dukakis, the wily Democrat pledging to reform Reagan’s white supremacist and ableist policies? Or George H.W. Bush, the steadfast Republican airman who had just served as Vice President for the past two terms? Hair metal was literally charting on the radio. Men of all types were using Aquanet in their hair and playing arcade games to impress women. Communism was still a big thing in Europe. And right here in Champaign-Urbana, people were using the internet, long before it was possible for the average person to do such a thing.
It was a weird time, the late 80s. So, the fact that this park is anything but weird is a nice reminder for me that despite the time period, sometimes, simple and basic is all you need.
This park features the most simple and basic of park features you can draw up. A playground for kids. A water fountain. A small shelter with picnic tables. A basketball court. Half of a walking path that leads to nowhere. Grass. Trees. That’s it.
This isn’t a park you or I would likely visit, as there isn’t anything here that you can’t find elsewhere, but it is a good example of how a park space can benefit a neighborhood when it is well placed and maintained. If there were a color to describe this type of park, it would be beige. If there were a ranking system for parks like Pitchfork does, it would be 6.8/10. If there were a man’s name we would give to a park like this, it would be Chad, or Brad, or Todd.
That’s this type of park.
Look at that sign above. No, above above. It says Honoring Morgan C. Powell. And now look here below. This is a plaque in the park: