Champaign Park District
The park tradition in both Champaign and Urbana was initiated by the establishment of an ‘anchor’ park.

This first park in Champaign was West Side Park. Formerly White Park, it was donated in 1854 by John White. West Side Park, unlike Crystal Lake’s scenic nature preserve, was an urban park set into the grid of streets, servicing the residents whose homes faced the park.

The park was positioned just west of downtown and the city built its first public library, YMCA and several churches bordering the park. The park has meandering walks for evening strolls, and a unique Victorian bandstand that hosted speakers such as Teddy Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan.

The Champaign Park District was established in 1911. In 2014 the district consists of 58 parks, 11 trails and 14 facilities that total over 700 acres.
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