Turf sports field proposed for Wilson Park; similar proposal for Jefferson Park was met with concerns it would eliminate too much green space
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) will hold a virtual community meeting on a proposed artificial sports field for the 8-acre Wilson Park, 4630 N. Milwaukee Ave., at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 29.
The project, estimated to cost between $1.5 and $2 million, would be funded through the Jefferson Park Tax Increment Financing District, which expires at the end of 2022. Some funds from the neighboring Portage Park TIF District would be transferred to the Jefferson Park district to help pay for the project.
“The new field would allow for children and adults the opportunity to participate in year-round sporting events, including soccer, football, lacrosse and baseball, without the concerns of excessive water hampering their activities,” Gardiner said in a flier announcing the meeting. The field would include a drainage system.
In May a similar proposal was made for Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave., but residents raised concerns that the proposed artificial field would eliminate too much of the park’s green space. A field project at Jefferson Park would have cost about $3 million.
Instead the Jefferson Memorial Park Advisory Council has been working with Gardiner and the Chicago Park District on possible other improvements, including air-conditioning for the fieldhouse and better drainage for the existing grass field. Using TIF funds for those improvements is still being considered, he said.
Unlike the Jefferson Park turf proposal, the artificial field at Wilson would not have lights given that homes and condominiums surround the rear of the park where the field would be installed.
Garages for homes on West Leland Avenue are separated from the rear of the park by an alley.
One resident said that the park feels like an extension of some of the area’s backyards. The vast majority of the grass in that area of the park would be replaced by an artificial surface under the proposal.
Gardiner said that he decided to explore the idea of installing a turf field at Wilson after talking to its supervisor. “By collaborating with the Wilson Park supervisor and his staff, and listening to feedback from area residents, my goal is to make a well-informed decision that will impact our community’s future,” Gardiner said on the flier.
Gardiner said that use of the turf field, such as possible rentals for sports leagues and other programming, would be determined by the park’s staff working with the community.
The Zoom ID for the meeting is 853 9808 8759, and the passcode is 748102.