I love Urbana’s parks. From the neighborhood charm of Victory Park to the open spaces of Meadowbrook, each park has its own distinctive character. When my wife and I first moved to Urbana in the early 1970s, Crystal Lake Park was my favorite. Only a mile from our house, it was a natural destination for my morning runs. Monday evening fun runs and the ever-popular Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving added to my enjoyment of the park. Living close to the park made it convenient to compete in the Turkey Trot events, since I could just jog to the park and not have to worry about finding a place to park. Of course, no car did mean that the year I won a turkey in a raffle after the race I had to carry it home while jogging, but at least the weather was warm enough that I didn’t get frostbite!
As our family grew, Urbana’s parks became popular destinations for family outings. We visited the playgrounds in Carle Park and Meadowbrook, we cooled off in the old Crystal Lake Pool, and we watched soccer and cross country in Prairie Park, forming many treasured memories along the way. Now when our grandkids visit us Urbana’s parks continue to be a popular destination. We enjoy not just our old haunts, but also new ones like the Family Aquatic Center and Nature Playscape, forming many new memories.
With this experience, it was only natural that when the opportunity came to join the board of the Urbana Parks Foundation (UPF), I jumped at it. The Foundation, with its mission of serving the Urbana Park District, was a perfect organization to join so I could help keep the parks the wonderful destinations they have been for me and my family. The primary purpose of the UPF, raising money to help the Park District to fund projects that tax dollars can’t cover, is reason enough to be involved. An unexpected benefit to me personally has been the pleasure of meeting so many people who share my passion for Urbana’s Parks. Whether you live in Urbana or in one of the nearby communities, I hope the parks in Urbana continue to be a satisfying and wonderful destination for you and your family.