Getting to Know UPF Trustee Marianne Downey

Oct 2020

I am honored to be invited to become a Trustee on the Urbana parks Foundation Board.

When I moved to Urbana from Indianapolis, IN 17 years ago I noticed the that there seemed to be a great deal of park land for a city this size.  As it turns out, Urbana does have a higher than average park land ratio. The typical park and recreation agency manages 9.9 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents, and Urbana manages 14.6 acres per 1,000!

I moved to Urbana to marry my husband and start our blended family home life.  We spent a great deal of our time in Crystal Lake Park and Victory Park walking our dog and playing with our two young daughters. Now our grown kids have fled the nest, but we still love to go to Crystal Lake Park, Victory Park and Meadowbrook Park.

My husband and I became more involved as volunteers with UPD as a result of an effort UPD had underway to improve Victory Park.  I was very impressed with the staff approaching the neighborhood for feedback.  Their responsiveness was awesome.  The results of the improvement project and the impact on the surrounding neighborhood is quite amazing.

Now, both my husband and I have served as volunteers on the Urbana Park District Advisory Council (UPDAC) and we have learned how the UPD leadership and staff approach the development and maintenance of parks keeping in mind principles guided by ecological insights, inclusion, and health and wellness goals.  UPD works with neighborhood associations, the city government, schools, the Urbana Free Library and more creating a powerful synergy that enhances the quality of life for citizens of Urbana and Champaign County.  I intend to help support this important work in my new role as Trustee.