Scott Park renovation scheduled

By Nicola Crean

Drainage problems in the Second Street reach of Boneyard Creek, located in Scott Park, have led to an improvement project that will commence at the start of summer, which is earlier than originally planned.

The Champaign City Council decided to accelerate the project to begin this summer due to the city’s policy to close major streets only during the summer or University breaks.

In 2006, the Boneyard Creek Detention Project, devised to correct drainage problems, was revised to include the area to account for better flood control.

“Public outreach was extensive, consisting of information mailings, individual interviews with significant stakeholders, a survey about the project distributed to project area businesses and placed on the city’s Web site, and an open house held March 15, 2006,” said Eleanor Blackmon, assistant city engineer for the city of Champaign.

After presenting the project’s concepts multiple times to the city board and the park board, the project received approval on Nov. 20, 2007, according to a report presented to the city council.

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The report also stated that the improvements will be focused on the “drainage corridor” along Second Street and Boneyard Creek.

The parking on Second Street is set to be redesigned and sidewalks reconstructed, according to the report.

“The Scott Park drainage improvements will cost about $2.5 million,” Blackmon said. “Hitchcock Design Group developed the planner and landscape architect on the city’s drainage improvement project and is also the park district’s master plan.”

The improvement project also will be altering and updating the cosmetic appearance of Scott Park.

“The park district is responsible for coming up with a design for Scott Park and working with the city in melding the design work completed along the Boneyard Creek with the rest of the park,” said Terri Gibble, park planner for the Champaign Park District.

Gibble added that funding for all the improvements beyond the construction along Boneyard Creek are up to the park district to fund.

Existing attractions in the park, such as paths, playground, basketball courts, picnic tables and lighting, will be improved, Gibble said. Depending on the funding, there may be a water feature installed in the park, she added.

“The main concern regarding safety is keeping elements of the design low enough so one is able to see their surrounding clearly,” said Gibble.

It has been about 10 years since the park has been improved and equipment has been replaced.

“I believe the work on the creek and the renovation of the park will have a positive effect on the community,” Gibble said.

“We anticipate (the park) being used more because there is a large housing development being built across the street.”

The park district’s work will not begin until spring 2009, after the completion of the drainage construction.

“I’m excited we have the opportunity to get this project off the drawing boards and into the construction phase of the work,” Gibble said.