Urbana Park Project Honored With Governor’s Hometown Award

The hill-and-tunnel and the log wall at the Friendship Grove Nature Playscape in Urbana.

The hill-and-tunnel and the log wall are two of the features of the Friendship Grove Nature Playscape in Urbana.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Urbana was one of 23 communities honored in Springfield Thursday with a Governor’s Hometown Award. The awards are given by the governor’s Serve Illinois Commission, for projects sponsored by local governments that had strong volunteer support, met a need and made an impact on the community.

Urbana won recognition for its Friendship Grove Nature Playscape.

Savannah Donovan with the Urbana Park District says a playscape uses the natural landscape and environmental features to create a setting where children can use their imagination for hands-on play.

“We have a climbing bog --- that’s a fallen tree,” said Donovan. “We have a log wall, which was not conceived as a climbing structure, but that’s kind of what it’s become. We also have a hill and tunnel. And we have a digging area.”

Volunteers and the public helped design and fund the Friendship Grove playscape, which opened last year. It’s located outside the Anita Purves Nature Center, on the north end of Crystal Lake Park in Urbana.

Urbana and other Governor’s Hometown Award recipients were honored at a reception Thursday at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.

Story source: WILL