Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Tim Mitchell,10th Ward Alderman John A. Pope and representatives of the Parkways Foundation joined members of the community today in dedicating the new artificial turf athletic field in Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G.
“We are excited about this new athletic field because it offers the youth and families of this community a state-of-the art place to play and view games,” said Mayor Daley. “Having safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities to engage children and adolescents throughout the year is so important in keeping our young people off of the streets.”
The new field at Calumet Park, which cost approximately $940,000, is just one example of successful public-private partnerships occurring throughout the city to renovate and improve recreational facilities and programs for Chicago’s youth.
“In these uncertain economic times, the completion of new facilities would not be possible without the assistance of great partners such as the Parkways Foundation,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent Tim Mitchell.
The construction and design costs were supported in part by the Parkways Foundation, which contributes funds for Chicago Park District’s artificial turf program. Parkways Foundation is the philanthropic partner of the Chicago Park District that works to enhance and improve Chicago’s neighborhood parks through capital improvements, funding youth programs and historic preservation.
The new field measures at 340’ x 225’ and is marked so that it can be broken up into two smaller soccer fields to accommodate two games for smaller children. The construction along the perimeter will also serve as a back ground for fans to sit on and watch the game in a setting similar to a stadium atmosphere.
The Chicago Park District currently has 11 full-size artificial turf regulation athletic fields, 11 junior-size artificial turf fields, with two more planned for next year. Athletic fields at North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski Rd., and Marquette Park, 6734 S. Kedzie Ave., are scheduled for rehabilitation later this season.
With such heavily utilized fields, the Chicago Park District benefits greatly from constructing artificial turf athletic fields. The fields save maintenance costs by eliminating the use of harmful pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides and decrease the amount of mowing and reseeding. They also conserve water as a typical soccer or football field can use between 2.5 and 3.5 million gallons of water annually.
Finally, artificial turf is engineered to play and feel like natural grass. It is designed to be stable, firm, not spongy, non-abrasive and uniform in traction, so it could actually help decrease the frequency of injuries to players.