CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Hedge Pop! Park in the Garden Hills neighborhood of Champaign has only been around for a couple of months. But some said it already has the potential to achieve Victory Over Violence.

The city held an event on Thursday to ask the community for input on a permanent park.  

“Trees and trees and trees and tables and garden,” is what Kamari Mullins suggested.

Those are just some of the things Mullins hopes for in a permanent park. But one thing that was on the mind of several young people: their safety. 

“Nobody can be in danger,” Kamari said. “They won’t have weapons and stuff.”

“So kids can have fun, instead of being in bad danger, instead of playing with guns and stuff,” said Kamari’s brother Ky’ree. 

“I’m on park grounds, I feel like people are watching me, I feel like nothing’s going to happen,” Chauneef Caraway said.

Those thoughts are a harsh, but true reality for many kids in the Garden Hills area, which is why the City of Champaign is hoping to build a safe space for them.  

“So we’re in the design phase,” said Lacey Rains Lowe, Senior Planner for the City of Champaign. “It’s a multi-year construction project, but we’re really moving quickly on the design phase so we can meet all of our deadlines for our funding.”  

Lowe said including the kids and the community in the conversation is important.  

“We will have lighting and a walking path around the basins; those are determined, sort of the givens,” Lowe said. “The unknowns are what are the amenities that should be in the park space. We know we have 28,000 feet of green, but what should go in it.”

Kids who live in the neighborhood had their own ideas for what they wanted, some of which were identical.

“Swings or maybe climbs,” Caraway suggested .

“I wish we could have some more soccer ball fields and then we can have another two, three more basketball fields,” Kamari said.

 “Like another half-basketball court with swings, a rock climb,” Ky’ree said.

For updates on the project, click here.