Scott Park construction coming to end

Construction of the park facilities at Scott Park, located at the intersection of Third Street and Springfield Avenue in Champaign, is finishing up as scheduled and has passed safety requirements for public parks, said Laura Auteberry, marketing and development director for the Champaign Park District.

“The park is already somewhat in use,” Auteberry said. “The basketball court has been full of people since it has been open.”

The Champaign Park District Scott Park Master Plan was coordinated with the Boneyard Creek Second Street Detention Project, a storm water drainage improvement plan that was put into effect June 2008.

“The bridge that was built for the Boneyard Creek Project has been finished,” Auteberry said. “The playground equipment is usable also. Finishing touches to the park are all that is taking place before completion, but fencing around the area has been taken down to allow people access to the park.”

Scott Park contains a playground facility due to the many families in the area, Auteberry said.

Since it is located near a college campus, it is a spot that is frequented by University students as well as the homeless population, said Lt. Skip Frost, patrol division commander for the University Police Department.

“What I’ve observed over the years of patrolling is that the area is not really a party place for college students,” Frost said. “The park is wide open and easily visible from the street. The area is patrolled by us frequently and we can see across the whole thing. There is little secrecy.”

Though the park area is not known by the police as being a social meeting place for students, he said that students still are likely to walk through the area.

“It’s definitely a possibility that children who will use the park may see beer bottles or cans left behind by people during the night,” Frost said.

“It is an issue. It is a place where children come, and we don’t want broken glass and beer cans all over the place,” he said.

The park facilities have passed the necessary safety inspections required of all playground equipment and park areas, said Auteberry.

“The park district’s risk management division checks to make sure the physical facilities and equipment of the park are safe to be used by the community. We have fulfilled the necessary requirements. One improvement to the area is that the banks of the creek are not as steep as they once were.”

Auteberry said that the location of Scott Park has not been a concern for the park district.

The park has been there for a long time and has not been a serious safety problem in the past, she said.

In the patrol area where Scott Park is located — in between Springfield Avenue and Green Street and from Second Street to Fourth Street — eight incidents of criminal damage to property and three incidents of possession of alcohol on public property have been reported since January 1, according to Gary Spear, crime analyst for the Champaign Police Department.

Statistics showing whether these incidents were reported within the park were not able to be obtained at the time of this report.

“For the most part, parks in general usually have a homeless population problem of people sleeping on benches,” Frost said. “Whether it is the homeless or the students, it is an issue we try to address because (Scott Park) is an area where children will be playing.”