CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — When you picture a playground, you probably remember monkey bars and slides at recess.
The Champaign Park District is changing that with an electronic playground and video game spaces powered by movement.
Those are just a few parts of the new Martens Center on Market Street, just south of I-74.
The space was supposed to open in June, but supply chain issues slowed down the project. But, come Saturday, anyone can check it out after the ribbon cutting.
There are multipurpose rooms, a media center, basketball courts, an indoor track and lots of classrooms.
Joe DeLuce, Champaign Park District’s executive director, said he’s excited to see kids smiling, running around and using the space.
“People on the north end of town haven’t had a facility like this before,” he said.
DeLuce said the facility has been in the works since 2017. It’s complete with fitness rooms for yoga or dance, classrooms with large TVs, a kitchen for teaching people how to cook, and even an electronic playground.
“There’s types of dancing, lights, displays, even one part you have to pedal a bike in order to play a video game,” DeLuce said.
He added that something like this has never been done before.
“Get exercise while playing video games, what a great opportunity,” he said.
DeLuce said they plan to get the whole community involved in the center.
The Boys and Girls Club will be using it for part of its after-school program.
And DeLuce said they plan to invite various groups to teach classes.
“From entrepreneurial, English as a second language, you name it. How to cook in the kitchen, how to become a cook,” he said.
He said it’s an $11-12 million project. Before, only a few soccer fields took up the space on Market Street.
“Plus, we’re gonna have an innovation center where we have all kinds of computers, robotics, 3D printers,” DeLuce said.
He said adults will benefit too, not just kids.
“We have pickleball, we have basketball, we have volleyball, and a walking track for people to just come, walk around the track, especially in the wintertime.”
And he added, to have it all in one location, he feels it is unique and different.
If you’re looking to sign up for classes or programming, visit the Park District’s website. You can sign up for fall or winter classes, or sign up for a membership.