Urbana park closed: ‘Actions of a few ruined it for everbody’

The city of Urbana has closed Pointe North after dealing with several months of vandalism and disrespect to the park.

“We just really wanted to keep it low maintenance and as natural as possible,” Kerry Brugger, Director of Administration for the City of Urbana said. “It just got to the point over the years folks had started to take advantage of it, if you will.”

The city opened Pointe North in the spring of 2015 - after the land sat idle for nearly 10 years, Brugger said.

“Our vision was to open the area to allow fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking on the larger lake and possibly connect to the Simon Kenton Bike Trail, with the idea of providing bicyclists the opportunity to venture off the trail for respite, or allow connectivity to Grimes Field and the Aviation Museum,” Brugger said.

During the first year the park was opened, Brugger explained that it was reported that individuals were taking five-gallon buckets of fish out of the pond. Due to this, the pond transitioned to a catch and release program.

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At various times throughout the seasons, the park has continued to be vandalized and disrespected, according to officials.

Brugger said that before the park opened this spring, individuals took four wheelers through the prairie grass areas and “mudded it.”

“It was just a real mess and then here in the last three weeks we have taken two 20 yard dumpsters out of there (the park) full of furniture, trash, mattresses, appliances, you name it,” Brugger said.

The park is a city owned property in the county, Brugger explained. This means it is not patrolled by the City of Urbana Police Department. It was patrolled by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

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Brugger said they tried to use trail cameras to catch suspects, but those were stolen.

“It just got to the point it’s not sustainable,” Brugger said. “Unfortunately, the actions of a few ruined it for many.”

Urbana officially closed the park on May 1. At this time, Brugger said they do not have any plans for the future of the park.

“In the meantime we intend to allow the acreage and ponds to ‘heal’ and the best way to accomplish that is to close the area,” Brugger said.

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