City, park district to discuss development of former landfill

City, park district to discuss development of former landfill

CHAMPAIGN – The old Champaign municipal landfill would become a community park offering a mountain bike skills course and a BMX bicycle racing track, a sledding hill, a dog park, a model airplane field and an 18-hole disc golf course under a plan for reuse of the 90-acre site.

But development of the park, which would also include 3 miles of walking trails, probably won't even begin for seven to 10 years and then is expected to proceed in stages, according to Champaign Park District officials. The park will cost between $10 million and $15 million to develop.

The city council and park board will hold a joint meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the reuse plan, put together by Hitchcock Design Group of Naperville. The city and park district are splitting the cost of the $52,000 study.

The rural location of the landfill, between U.S. 150 and Interstate 74, makes it a good site for many of the specialized uses proposed, said Terri Gibble, a parks planner with the park district.

"We always have requests for different developments that aren't necessarily good neighbors for residents living near parks," she said. "This location is perfect for what people have been requesting."

With money tight, Gibble said, the park district would focus on landing state grants and forging partnerships with different interest groups to add features to the park.

That will take time, as the park district is first com- mitted to developing the 38-acre Porter Park, at the northeast corner of Windsor and Rising roads, and the redevelopment of Scott Park, just south of West Springfield Avenue and west of Third Street, she said.

The site was Champaign's city landfill for about 30 years before it closed in 1975. Because the landfill is covered with a clay cap, the park will sport few, if any, trees or bushes.

"We don't want to breach the cap or roof," said Mishauno Woggon, a city planner in Champaign. "It's kind of like a waterbed. You puncture it, you're in trouble."

The city would continue to own the landfill site and would enter into agreement with the park district to allow use of the property, she said.

City council members will be asked Wednesday to finalize the design plan and to forward it for consideration at a regular city council meeting.


Key features of the proposed park at the old Champaign municipal landfill site:

— A 7-acre BMX bicyle racing track and a mountain bike skills course would be built along the northern boundary of the landfill, near I-74. A grandstand would be added along the eastern side of the BMX track.

— An 18-acre disc golf course would be built along the eastern side of the park. The park would offer 12 par 3 links, four Par 4 links and two Par 5 links.

— A 5-acre fenced dog park along the southern boundary, adjacent to U.S. 150. City police would continue to use the site for their regular K9 training programs.

— A 27.5-acre model aviation field. The model airplance field would be in the space a local club currently uses.

— A three-mile trail system would be added with 10-foot-wide paths, with eight feet of mowed grass on each side. These side areas could be used by cross-country skiers after a snowfall.

— A 3.5-acre core gathering area and picnic area would be installed in the north-central portion of the park. It would include a shelter and a large entry plaza for large gatherings, celebrations and award ceremonies of up to 150 people. A parking lot with 140 spaces would be included.

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