Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to approve seeking grant funding to cover part of the cost of a $1.45 million project to add artificial turf and lighting to the Lovelace Park soccer field in northwest Evanston.

Monday night’s proposal is to seek a $250,000 grant from the US Soccer Foundation. Staff plans to also seek a $400,000 grant from the state’s Open Space and Land Acquisition and Development program.

The rest of the cost, about $800,000, would be covered by the city’s capital improvement program.

The proposal would expand the field from its current size of 100 by 70 years to 125 by 75 yards.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson, in a memo to aldermen, says the project will “dramatically increase field availablity and extend the playing season” and usable hours.

She says AYSO and Team Evanston soccer programs now have to limit their programs of find playing fields outside the city.

And she says overuse of the field has resulted in substandard conditions.

With the artificial turf, she says, the field will be able to be used much more intensively, and the athletic field lights will dramatically increase available playing hours, especially in the fall and spring.

Assuming funding is received, the plan is to rebuild the field during the summer of 2015.

Update 11:05 a.m. 5/20/14: The City Council unanimously approved the grant application Monday night.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. What about James Park?

    How about making James Park the focus of some much needed investment? The jogging and bike path flood in 4 places every times it rains, Mt Trashmore is an eyesore and the park is, despite the constant efforts of COE staff, generally rundown. It's just frustrating that the busiest park in the City seems to be on the bottom of the list for improvement.

    1. Yes, what about James Park

      Mr. Schapiro is correct. Other than the baseball fields, the park is a eyesore. If the city is going to build paths, it needs to maintain them. Agreed. Why does it seem like the busiest park in the city at the bottom of the list for improvements? Just because it used to be the city dump, doesn't mean we have to continue to treat it like one!

  2. Why not develop a long-term
    Why not develop a long-term master plan for James Park that would start with a turf field. James park would allow the addition of future turf fields, similar to Olympic Park in Schaumburg or the Waukegan Sports Complex, both have a combination of turf and grass fields. The long-term earning potential from field rentals and tournaments should also be considered. Both Schaumburg and Waukegan charge for parking during tournaments (Waukegan charges $5/day and Olympic Park charges a $80.00 team parking fee). Olympic Park is packed any given evening with soccer teams from all over who rent field space for their clubs. The lack of quality fields for clubs to train, is a huge revenue potential for the City, not to mention the revenue that it would bring to surrounding businesses as parents drop their children off for practice. Lovelace is an unofficial dog park, any early morning you can find 10 dogs running free so any turf field there will need to be fenced in.

  3. What about Lincoln School?

    Why not fix the field D65 "broke" when renovating Lincoln School and make that a usable space again with a soccer pitch and baseball diamond? Open play space is greatly lacking in that neighborhood.

  4. Kudos to Ms. Robinson. 

    Kudos to Ms. Robinson.  Finally having a turf field in Evanston with lights in our park district will be a game changer.  Youth and adult sports teams will now be able to play well into the Fall and much earlier in the Spring.  We are way behind other communities in providing these types of facilities.  I don't think it should be a question of Lovelace v. James.  There should be a turf field at Lovelace AND at James.  This is a great start though!!!

    1. Kudos to Ms. Robinson

      I agree – let's get started.

      Lovelace, James, Pitner….. if we had some turf fields our athletes would have somewhere less dangerous to play – grass fields are hard to maintain and keep safe.   It seems more time is spent staying off the fields so that they can stay in playing condition.  More turf – any turf – in addition to Lazier – would be fantastic.

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