Amundsen High School baseball players try to dry their baseball field at Winnemac Park April 21, 2022. Credit: Alex V. Hernandez/Block Club Chicago

LINCOLN SQUARE — Winnemac Park’s baseball field will be overhauled in early 2024.

The park’s north baseball diamond, 5100 N. Leavitt St., will get new artificial baseball turf on the infield and stormwater improvements, according to a Park District news release. Construction will also add amenities, including player benches, sports lighting, ADA-accessible pathways and bleachers, according to the Park District. 

Construction should start in the first quarter of 2024 and wrap by the end of the year, according to the Park District.

The renovations come after years of complaints from Amundsen High School, whose baseball team practices at Winnemac Park.

The field frequently becomes muddy and unplayable after rain. In April 2022, Craig Newman, the high school’s JV baseball head coach, shared photos online showing water trapped in parts of the field. Players and coaches had to prep the field themselves to play and practice safely. 

City officials, including Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th), proposed a plan to use tax-increment financing funds to improve the field. City Council signed off on this plan in April. 

The upgrades are paid for using $1.5 million in TIF funds, officials said.

The concept plan for the Winnemac Park renovations. Credit: Provided/Chicago Park District

The park’s two tennis courts will also get improvements to improve poor stormwater drainage and install ADA pathway paving. The east tennis court will also get pickleball striping, officials said. 

“I’m so excited that we’re able to use these things to bring much-needed improvements to one of our community’s most cherished spaces,” Vasquez said in a statement. “The new ball field will be an asset not only to our students, but to the entire community, by giving them a safer and more comfortable space to play.” 

The tennis court, baseball field and adjacent soccer fields will be closed during construction, officials said. The other four baseball fields will be open.

“Together, with support from local officials and the community, we can bring the Chicago Park District’s aging infrastructure into the modern age, and meet the current needs of the communities it serves,” Rosa Escareño, Park District superintendent and CEO, said in a statement. “Field improvements not only have an immediate impact on the teams that play there, but they also make play accessible to future generations of athletes of all ages and abilities.”

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