Getting to Know UPF Trustee & Secretary Helen Grandone

Sep 2018

My first memory of spending time in an Urbana Park was as a college student who wanted to get away from the fray on campus. As a student, I discovered that Carle Park was a great place to study as well as to discover that there was a community outside of campus. Little did I know during those days that my husband and I would return to Urbana as residents and experience first-hand all of the benefits of the Urbana Parks. Initially, I spent as much time as I could at the Blair Park Tennis Courts. After having spent a few years in Chicago where court time was nonexistent, I couldn’t believe that you could walk to Blair Park and hang a racquet and reserve a court even in the evening at no cost.

When our children were little, there was always a discussion as to which park we should go to and which one had the best play structure. I can’t imagine what the discussion would be like today with the addition of the Nature Playscape that is adjacent to the Anita Purvis Center.

One thing that is evident is that the Urbana Park District is always evolving trying to provide quality programs and parks for the entire community. There are 21 parks listed on the current program guide and that does not include the Philips Center. Even our four-legged friends have a park of their own. There are all kinds of classes for infants to seniors, from the very active to the not so active, for the creative to those wanting to be creative. Events like “Neighborhood Nights”, Jazz Walk, Strawberry Jam, the Turkey Trot and the Roots Festival are for all ages to enjoy together.

As a Trustee of the Urbana Parks Foundation for several years, I have come to realize what a tremendous job the Urbana Park District does to stretch the tax dollars as far as they can to provide quality parks and programs. They also rely on the generosity of a community that recognizes the benefits of our parks. The Urbana Parks Foundation was set up to encourage the continued financial support of the community so that we can all enjoy the benefits of the Urbana Parks.