Hedge POP! Park Wins Award from the American Planning Association – Illinois Chapter

2022 Diversity and Social Change Award Recipient

The City of Champaign is proud to announce that the American Planning Association – Illinois Chapter (APA-IL) has recognized the City with the 2022 Diversity and Social Change Award for the Hedge POP! Park project. Hedge POP! Park is an interim outdoor improvement project on the site of a future stormwater detention and recreation amenity in the Garden Hills neighborhood. The project created a venue for civic engagement while also adding recreation facilities, including basketball, soccer, a nature playground and picnic tables for residents to enjoy. Construction of the permanent improvements will begin in 2023.

As stated in the APA-IL award announcement, “The Hedge POP! Park showcases the City of Champaign’s ability to build support for a project through community engagement within a historically underrepresented neighborhood and under an extremely constrained timeframe and budget. The community engagement in the Garden Hills neighborhood went beyond typical meetings to deeply engage third-party entities that could provide programming and capacity building to meet the needs of the neighborhood youth.”

Of the award, Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen said, “It’s an honor for the City to be recognized for the hard work and creativity that was put into the Hedge POP! Park project. Our dedicated and professional staff, in collaboration with neighbors, really took this project to the next level when they transformed an empty lot into a community gathering spot in the Garden Hills neighborhood. Congratulations to everyone involved, including all our wonderful community partners, for making this award-winning project possible.”

The award was presented to the City’s Planning and Development Department staff during the APA-IL annual conference last week. A representative of APA-IL’s Board of Directors will also present the award to the Champaign City Council during their meeting on October 11.

APA-IL is Illinois’ source for networking and professional development in the field of urban planning. APA-IL received a total of 22 nominations for outstanding examples of planning in Illinois this year. Nominations are reviewed by a team of professional urban planners and professors from across Illinois.