From AP - News Headlines -

Champaign Co Bd OK’s Lease of Vacant Lot for Dobbins Down Playground

A neighborhood group's dream of a new playground has come closer to reality. The Champaign County Board voted Thursday night to lease the group some county-owned land in the neighborhood, where the playground can be built.

The Dobbins Down neighborhood in northwest Champaign is mostly in unincorporated territory. And its location north of I-74 puts its far away from any public park. But with the Champaign County Board's approval of a $50-a-year lease on a vacant lot it owns, the Dobbins Down Improvement Association looks forward to a small park where neighborhood kids can play. Association Chair Lesley Kimble says it's been the group's longtime goal.

"We want to see playground equipment that kids can have an option, a healthy option in their neighborhood to go do, other than play video games and hang out and not get in trouble."

The Dobbins Down group has applied for assistance from KaBOOM, a non-profit group that builds playgrounds using local volunteers and corporate funding. Kimble says getting the lease on the vacant lot was the last thing they needed to be recommended for funding. If all goes well, she says the park could be built in September. The Dobbins Down Improvement Association would assume liability for the park, and be responsible for its upkeep. Kimble says they hope to name the playground in memory of the late Mable Thomas, a longtime Champaign city employees who worked on neighborhood issues.