Parks and Recreation
CHAMPAIGN – For four years, dog-lover Rick Shurtz has been persistently urging the Champaign Park District to create a dog park where his golden retriever, Daisy, could run free with other dogs.
"I've been a thorn in their side," said Shurtz, who lives at 2111 Bristol Road. "I just really believe in it."
MONTICELLO – The deadline has passed for Monticello's offers to buy sections of abandoned railroad track or secure a permanent easement.
But city officials say they're still optimistic an agreement can be reached so the city can use the land for a bike path and as a second entrance to a local subdivision. The land belongs to Heartland Pathways, a Champaign-area prairie preservation group.
DANVILLE – City officials will decide this week if they want to shore up Douglas Park's aging archway temporarily while Rabbittown residents hire a historic preservation specialist to assess the structure.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer and Public Works Director Doug Ahrens met with residents Monday night to explain why the archway is a danger and to discuss options for replacement, possibly through a partnership with grants or private donors.
CHAMPAIGN – Attendance at the Sholem Aquatic Center topped 104,000 this summer, in its first full year of operation – a record for the park district.
Champaign Park District Sports and Aquatic Manager Amy Crump said the number met district projections and that the aquatic center was solidly in the black financially in its first full year of operation. The previous record attendance was 87,702 in 1991.
Police investigators traced calls that raised concerns about possible violence to local schools to a house in Urbana, but concluded there was "no direct threat" made.
"At this point, we do not have any credible information that would suggest the schools or students are in any danger," Champaign police Lt. Joe Gallo said Friday.
DANVILLE – The Danville Recreation Department has a little help from some new participants for its annual Vermilion River Fall Festival, which begins Friday.
"New groups, like the American Cancer Society and the Downtown Danville Rotary are joining in with activities that will draw more people to the festival," said Cindy Parson, recreation manager.
DANVILLE – John Griner circled Douglas Park's aging archway Wednesday morning, looking over the cracks in the brick and bulges at the bottom of the two towers.
"It's going to hurt when it's gone," the Rabbittown resident said.
RANTOUL – It's been a long time coming, but Rantoul officials finally have the money to finish cleaning up the site of a former dry-cleaning business downtown and are starting plans to build a park there.
"Now the end is in sight, so people are starting to get excited," said Community Development Compliance Officer Sarah Lorbiecki.
PAXTON – About 25 people sit in the smoke-filled King Richard's Raffle House on South Market Street.
They don't talk much, and the sound of numbered balls rattling in a blower fills the room. Richard Schwarz, who runs the raffle, wears a gold plastic crown to fit the role as he pulls balls and announces numbers into a microphone.
URBANA – If you wind up with an unused food or ride ticket at Urbana's Sweetcorn Festival this weekend, don't just toss it.
Buckets on the festival grounds in downtown Urbana will collect "Leftovers for Charity," with proceeds from unused tickets benefiting three nonprofit programs – the Urbana Park District's Youth Scholarship Fund, A Woman's Fund and Empty Tomb.