New Dunning sports field dedicated
by BRIAN NADIG
A May 28 dedication ceremony celebrated the new Chicago Park District sports complex near Oak Park Avenue and Irving Park Road which will be used by Taft High School and Saint Patrick High School.
“It’s an amazing thing. … You have to see it up close to see how great it is for (the community),” Alderman Nicholas Spsoato (38th) said of the multi-purpose artificial playing surface. “It’s pretty soft, too.”
In an interview after the ceremony, Spsoato said that in the past Astroturf would be installed over asphalt but that a mix of crush stone and sand was used under the artificial surface for the new field. It will accommodate baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, rugby and football.
A park district official reported that the district has 2,000 reservations for the field for the remainder for 2019, according to Sposato.
“It’s probably going to be very tight (permit) scheduling. You’re on until 2 p.m., and the next is on right at 2 p.m.,” Sposato said.
While the field and lights have been installed, the spectator stands are in the process of being installed, and plans call for a structure with a concession stand and restrooms, Sposato said. The stands will be able to seat at least 2,000 people, and there will be a 90-space parking lot.
Officials at the dedication ceremony included park district chief operating officer Patrick Levar Jr., Sposato and baseball hall of famer Cal Ripken Jr. and Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, whose foundations helped fund the project. Saint Patrick High School also invested in the project.
The field is located just to the north of the Taft Freshman Academy, 4071 N. Oak Park Ave., which is opening in September and which will include an outdoor track and a 60-space parking lot. In addition, a new sports field is being installed at the Taft varsity campus at 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
(photos by William Swanson)