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Warren Park To Get Nature Playground, Pickleball Courts And Cricket Batting Cages With $1.5 Million City Grant

The grant will also add lighting for nighttime cricket matches and will help refurbish the bocce ball, horseshoes and shuffleboard courts. Work is slated to begin in the fall.

Hamzah Patel also plays with the Illinois Premier League Cricket Conference in Warren Park in 2015.
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WEST RIDGE — Warren Park is getting a major upgrade thanks to a city grant.

One of the Far North Side’s biggest parks, Warren Park is one of seven public facilities to win a $1.5 million city grant for improvements to community spaces. The grant will help bring a nature play area and a slew of new and revamped athletic facilities to the park. Renovations are slated to begin in the fall.

The nature area will open on the southern portion of Warren Park, close to Western Avenue, Chicago Park District officials said at a community meeting Wednesday. The area will feature kid-friendly play stations made of wooden logs, some of which are stationary and some of which can be moved for building or other creative endeavors.

The nature area will also include a stage, a wooden snail sculpture that can be climbed and a slide and other play equipment on a small hill. It will feature a walking path with landscaping and a vine tunnel near the play area’s entrance.

Big changes are also planned for Warren Park’s athletic facilities.

Four pickleball courts and two volleyball courts will replace the park’s batting cages, which have been closed to the public. The courts will be fenced off, said London Walther, senior project manager at the Chicago Park District.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
Warren Park’s inoperable batting cages are being replaced.

The area will also be home to new batting and pitching cages for baseball and cricket. Warren Park’s cricket field, adjacent to the existing batting cages, will get new artificial turf and lighting for nighttime play.

Repurposing the area that now houses the closed batting cages was a big priority for the community, Walther said.

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Warren Park’s shuffleboard, horseshoes and bocce ball courts will also be overhauled as part of the grant.

The bocce ball court will get a new turf surface, and the area surrounding all three courts will be overhauled to be more accessible, Walther said. That includes new accessible seating and pathways around the courts.

Warren Park is already a sports destination on the Far North Side, especially for cricket enthusiasts. The park frequently hosts cricket matches and leagues, including the Illinois Premier League Cricket Conference.

In addition to the cricket field, there are five baseball diamonds, an outdoor ice rink, six tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course at Warren Park.

With the renovations, the park will upgrade under-utilized facilities and make them available to a wider range of visitors, said Pamela Stauffer, president of the Warren Park Advisory Council.

“Warren Park is a team park. You see the basketball, the cricket field, the baseball fields,” Stauffer said. “We asked, ‘Who aren’t we seeing?’ How do we improve inter-generational use of this park?'”

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