Smile Politely

Year of the Park, A to Z: Sunset Ridge 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


Sunset Ridge Park


3907 Boulder Ridge, Champaign 

a gazebo and playground in a park

Photo by Seth Fein. 


This park has been part of the deepest part of west Champaign for 20 years now, and for as much as I’ve been critical at times of the new parks in the city, I like this one. A lot. Granted, I like a good sunset. I mean, do you not like a good sunset? What is wrong with you? You need to just watch one now and again, my friend. You will like it. It’s a sunset. Just get with it. There are no people who do not enjoy a good sunset, when they are watching one. 

This park has the things that you expect, like a playground (a super good one!) and a basketball court, and a pickle ball court, and a walking path and all that shit, but it also has a mini skate park, and that is worth mentioning here. 

Photo by Seth Fein. 

Bottom line is that skaters do still exist, but they’ve been asked to keep their tricks to little pods, rather than TERRORIZING the streets as they did in the 80s and 90s.

What a shame! We lost something when Chad and his wife decided it was dangerous for pedestrians, and wasn’t fit for hangin’ out. Well fuck Chad and fuck that. Bottom line, we were all better off when there were people shreddin’ axles pumpin’ Bad Brains on boomboxes or in Walkmans and shopping at Grungies like it was a thing. Maybe you did some whippets? Maybe I did. Maybe I did too many whippets one day and my friend looked over and me and said “Dude, I think you did too many whippets, you aren’t thinking straight.”

That was a better moment than whatever this is. I am not yelling at a cloud, I promise. I am just saying, skaters had a thing going, and sucking out the nitrous from the end of a whipped cream can be sorta fun. Be safe! Sit down when you do it, or you could Phish out and end up in the emergency room with stitches headed your way. Maybe that happened to me! 

Anyhow, skaters had a great thing, and they still do, and it’s good they have a suburban outpost here. Credit to the CPD for acknowledging that and making it available. 


One day, and I don’t know when, but one day, all these suburban parks will feel older, and aged. I hope to make it that far, which is to say, with some old growth trees and a sense of community in this type of park, there’s that chance. I believe it will get there. 

Photo by Seth Fein. 

I like Sunset Ridge Park very much. Will whoever owns the land to the west develop it into houses? I have no idea. I am sure if I owned the land I’d consider it. But I hope I wouldn’t.

After all, there are sunsets to be seen. 

Top image by Seth Fein.


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