New plan for Lindberg Park nixes artificial turf

New fields would be state-of-the-art natural grass

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By Ben Meyerson

Chicago Journal Editor

Lindberg Park could soon have the best-quality playing fields in Oak Park — but they wouldn't be artificial, and they wouldn't have lights.

After an outcry from many of the park's neighbors over the idea of having an artificial turf field in the middle of the Park District of Oak Park's biggest park, it's been shot down by the folks in charge of sculpting a new plan for Lindberg, Wolff Landscape Architecture.

But Wolff is still proposing to tear up the worn-out, weedy, uneven fields at Lindberg, Greenfield at Marion St. Instead of artificial turf, they're proposing a new state-of-the-art field made of natural grass.

"We think [a new, natural field] is the thing which best serves Lindberg Park, best serves the sports teams and users, and best preserves the aesthetics of Lindberg Park," said Ted Wolff, head of the consulting firm. "It provides improved playability, it provides improved reliability, and it closely maintains the current park character."

Wolff's plan for the heavily-used fields would involve replacing the hard current sod with a fast-draining sandy soil combined with a below-surface drainage system that would allow athletes to get back on the field much faster after a heavy rain.

However, it would cost the park district twice as much to maintain as Lindberg's current fields do — roughly $100,000 a year, up from the current $50,000.

Wolff also nixed the idea of adding sports lighting to the park's fields. The increased use, they said, would add traffic to the neighborhood and increase wear and tear on the fields.

Also proposed are new paths that would complete a loop around the park, as well as a shelter for day camps and further spread-out tennis courts.

The park district has a fourth community meeting planned for Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., when Wolff will present its master plan for the park.

Lindberg Park Preliminary Recommendation Plan

Reader Comments

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Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 10th, 2010 9:00 AM

There have only been three, not four, public input meetings so far regarding Lindberg Park. The fourth one is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17 to be held in Mann School at 7 p.m. I would urge everyone -- regardless of which proposals you prefer -- to attend and make your feelings known. But please, be nice.

Loren Andersen from Oak Park  

Posted: November 9th, 2010 1:34 PM

Would have been nice if this much thought and planning had been put into the Barry Park field. Since it won't drain the Park District had the great idea of spreading small infield type rocks over the whole thing. If you happen to fall or slide on it, your skin gets ripped to shreads. Don't get me started on the sled hill...


Posted: November 8th, 2010 8:44 PM

I agree with Tom and Elizabeth, I have found memories of tearing my ACL on a bad field; let's bring back the good old days of ignorance and resistance to change.

Greg Kuenster from OP  

Posted: November 8th, 2010 6:06 PM

I am ridiculous and ignorant. Good point. Mrs. Forth, I must have lost touch with reality. Maybe I have been drinking too much Koolaid. I was reading John Kass in the Chicago Tribune. He says he is smoking hopium. I think I need to see a Doctor. Thanks for clueing me in on my malady.

Sally Forth from Oak Park  

Posted: November 8th, 2010 12:32 PM

Mr. Kuenster, it's obvious by your ridiculous comments that you didn't attend any of the four (that's 4!) Lindberg Park community meetings...your comment about offering "your" park is exactly the problem. Every park in this community belongs to EVERYONE living here, not just those who happen to live nearby. Also, no adult soccer leagues use Lindberg. Maple Park is used for youth soccer practices, but isn't wide enough for most kids games. The dog park will use maybe 5% of Maple's space.

Gregg Kuenster from OP  

Posted: November 6th, 2010 7:23 PM

The Lindberg Park plan was bought and sold by the adult soccer sport leagues who are directly funding the campaigns of the Park Commissioners. Let us not be naive. The plan had no input from the local community. We at Maple Park offered our park for soccer. It is perfectly laid out for two soccer field next to the tee ball areas. The soccer people were not interested.The soccer organizations wanted North Oak Park and Maple Park had been promised to the Dog Lobby. It is just simple politics. If you do not fund and work for THE PARTY, you have no say. I travel to China often. People tell me the Chinese government is oppressive. I reply there really is not much difference in how governments work.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 6th, 2010 11:08 AM

Ms. Rees: Ditto that. What's wrong with a little mud? Or skinned knees, scratched elbows and bruised keisters, for that matter? May I also add this radical, "old school" thought: much of the handwringing about car/pedestrian safety issues could be minimized by those living in an 8-block radius or so walking to/from Lindberg Park instead of expecting curbside valet service. I know, I sounds crazy.

Elizabeth Rees from Oak Park   

Posted: November 5th, 2010 10:27 AM

I understand that the park is used by many soccer teams, but it does seem to me that the park should be maintained in the way that will allow the largest number of OP citizens to use it. The cost of these specially draining fields sounds extreme to me in these financially difficult times. When I was growing up, our sports teams played in all sorts of weather with all kinds of field conditions. A little mud never killed anyone!

Wayne Nordhagen  

Posted: November 5th, 2010 9:31 AM

With all that money being spent on natural turf, hopefully the man known as "The Sodfather", White Sox Head Groundskeeper Roger Bossard, is being consulted!

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