Contractor backs off pricey turf at Lindberg Park fields

Study proposes leveling out fields, taking better care

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By Ben Meyerson

Chicago Journal Editor

Two weeks after proposing a top-of-the-line new field for Lindberg Park, the Park District of Oak Park's planner has nixed the idea as too expensive and difficult to maintain.

It's the latest wrinkle in the debate over just how to deal with the heavily-used fields at Oak Park's biggest park. The park district's contractor, Wolff Landscape Architecture, proposed the state-of-the-art natural fields at a community meeting on Nov. 3, but on Wednesday night, reversed course.

The sand-based fields that were proposed would have drained faster, giving a high-performance feel to the park without tearing out the natural sod for artificial turf.

Two weeks later, though, Wolff decided that the field design they were looking at were simply too pricey and complicated to take care of. Instead, they're looking to keep the field similar to what it is now, but re-level it and pay more attention to it.

"We did some more delving into the pros and cons, and we found some owners who were very unhappy with these systems over time," said Wolff's principal, Ted Wolff. "It's high maintenance not just in terms of cost, but in terms of skill."

They're still proposing to even out the lumpy, uneven field. But they're also proposing to update the irrigation system to only water when the field needs it, to aerate the soil more often and determine if there should be anything added to the soil's mix to ensure it stays in top shape.

To help figure out the best way to keep the field in peak condition, Wolff is proposing to have a trio of contractors take a detailed look at the field to determine how best to take care of it.

"We had recommended something a little more generic, now we're saying let's work with the turf field that's there," Wolff said. "We're saying get a very detailed survey."

The park district's board will take a detailed look at the plan at its working meeting on Dec. 2, and is expected to vote on Wolff's plan at its Dec. 16 meeting.

Reader Comments

5 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Rick Soccer-Dad from OP  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 1:26 PM

As a soccer dad, I'm glad the architect told the PD to cease and desiste with their lofty plans. Barrie is now unplayable much of the time. Field is nbow unplayable much of the tiome. At least Lindberg can be used. Meddling by the incompetnents at the PD would only have ruined it too.

Sod Father from oak park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 10:02 AM

Tom, in Oak Park NO solution is obvious to any two people. The PD it seems did plenty of work pre-process, both leading up to the Lindberg planning, and going back to the initial infrastructure study (2002?) that initiated their master planning. Many, many thoughtful, intelligent OPer's have selflessly volunteered their time and talent over the past few years. This has helped the lean PD staff to focus on the day-to-day stuff. It's a shame the whole village isn't this engaged all the time.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 7:21 AM

Just to clarify: I didn't mean to suggest an open, lengthy public process is misguided or the ability of all citizens to voice their opinions is undesirable. (Lord knows I exercised my privilege.) Only that action, however laudable, should be preceded by a little thought. In this case, two of the final recommendations seem so obvious, one wonders why it took an outside consultant to get us there. They could have occurred pre-process. Guess I was too inartful and snarky. Mea culpa.

Area Man  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 7:48 PM

I think the Park District's inclusive process may seem long and drawn out to some people, but so far it is working by giving neighbors and other park users multiple opportunities to provide input. This may seem like an easy call, but I am glad the PD went through the process of seeking a lot of community input. That is good government, ladies and gentlemen, not an inability to THINK.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 5:56 PM

After attending last night's fourth & final community meeting re: Lindberg Park, I can only say we sure took a long way around the block to get to what should have been the first stop on the journey -- analyzing how all the fields in the District are scheduled, to ensure optimum usage...and looking at common sense ways to improve the existing turf. Sometimes it's good to think big. Sometimes it's good to think small. But, it's always good to THINK.

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