After being vacant more than a decade, the lot on the southeast corner of Monument Square in downtown Urbana has been given a new lease on life as Legacy Park.
“Monument Square District (MSD) had the idea on what could be done with the corner to improve it and also benefit our downtown,” said MSD Secretary Vicki Deere-Bunnell.
Scheduled to open to the public later this fall, the empty lot is being leased by the city to the MSD, which began working on phase I of Legacy Park in spring 2014.
During phase I, which wrapped up last fall, the site was excavated and leveled, foundation was poured, and all electrical work was completed.
“Along with our funding, we have had financial institutions and businesses sponsor and donate for the foundation of the park,” Deere-Bunnell said.
Currently, construction is underway on phase II, which involves installation of a pergola with a crosshatch top, kiosk featuring a large map of the downtown area, and several benches.
“We would like this park to be a directional space for visitors and a central meeting location,” Deere-Bunnell said. “We feel this is an architectural enhancement for an empty corner and hope that everyone will make use of it, whether it be for resting, meeting, eating or just people and traffic watching.
“We have ideas for holding small events that will bring visitors to our downtown and give us the opportunity to work with merchants,” she added.
While Legacy Park will open to the public following the completion of phase II, there are plans for at least one more phase.
“Phase III would involve seeking donations for public restrooms, however, due to the cost of this phase, there is no completion date,” Deere-Bunnell said.
As for why the MSD decided on the name Legacy Park, Deere-Bunnell said it was chosen with the hope of having a mural featuring depictions of “different architectural buildings and longtime companies/businesses.”
MSD President Marcia Bailey said the organization is accepting sponsorships for continued additions and upkeep at Legacy Park.
As for the rest of Monument Square, Bailey said, the MSD has already begun preparing for the fall season by adding mums to the flower pots at each corner.
“If the businesses in each corner would take the responsibility of watering the plants in their corner, it would be a tremendous help,” she said. “We will also be adding fall decorations to the monument itself.”
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.