Athletic Field Improvements
The City of Lake Forest began construction on the Deerpath Community Park Improvement Project in March 2023. For the latest project information, visit the Deerpath Community Park Improvement Project webpage.
This webpage includes information on the background and design engineering for athletic field improvements at Deerpath Community Park.
Design Engineering for Synthetic Turf Fields at Deerpath Community Park
50% Design Engineering Milestone
At the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, staff provided a status update on the Deerpath Park Synthetic Turf Field Project at the 50% design milestone. The status update included a summary of the work of the City Manager's Advisory Group and the Advisory Group's recommendations. Watch the City Council Meeting Video and view the presentation slides.
After discussion, City Council provided direction consistent with the City Manager’s Advisory Group's recommendations (no formal action was taken). The City Council showed support for the Advisory Group’s recommendation to finalize the field design based on a 9.5-acre synthetic turf configuration, direct staff to select turf field material options based on certain evaluation criteria (player safety, playability, maintenance demands, durability, and environmental sensitivity) and continue to develop the Conceptual Vision Plan to guide long-term planning for Deerpath Park.
100% Design Engineering Milestone
The design engineering to convert the existing athletic fields at Deerpath Community Park to synthetic turf was complete in December 2022. At the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 staff provided an update on the City Manager Advisory Group recommendations for field system materials (turf, shock pad, and infill) that met the agreed upon evaluation criteria. Watch the City Council Meeting Video or view the presentation slides.
At the City Council Meeting on Monday, February 6, 2023, staff provided an overview of the programming and revenue analysis. Watch the City Council Meeting Video. View the Market Analysis Report prepared by Johnson Consulting.
At the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 21, City Council formally approved construction of synthetic turf athletic fields and additional park amenities at Deerpath Community Park. City Council approved the base athletic field project for $12.9 million plus $3.1 million for additional amenities, including two restroom buildings with shaded open air pavilions, a playground, fitness stations, and natural area enhancements. Other park improvements include new tennis courts and the City’s first dedicated pickleball courts in the existing court footprint. This project is the culmination of a years-long planning effort that began with City Council approval of a Parks and Recreation Master Plan in 2019. To learn more about what’s planned for Deerpath Community Park, read the News Story or watch the City Council Meeting video.
Athletic Field Improvement FAQs
In 2020, the City, in partnership with The Friends of Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Foundation, engaged Hitchcock Design Group to conduct an Athletic Field Assessment to provide a high-level evaluation of all the City owned athletic fields and present conceptual recommendations based on athletic field needs. The Athletic Field Assessment presented three recommendations for improvement:
- Improvements in-place to enhance park utilization without layout changes or major investments
- Layout improvements that reposition fields in existing parks
- Sports complex options that include synthetic turf, sports lighting, and improved capacity to host large events and tournaments
City staff presented several of those options at the City Council Workshop in July 2021. During that discussion, there was a clear consensus that something needs to be done to improve the City’s athletic fields. Council directed City staff to begin investigating two options for a sports complex at Deerpath Community Park: 1) layout improvements with the existing natural turf and 2) synthetic turf.
At the Capital Budget Workshop in November, City Council informally designated funding for design engineering for either natural or synthetic turf improvements. A robust Community Engagement process was held from November 2021 through March 2022. In April 2022, City Council voted to move forward with issuing a request for proposals for synthetic turf fields. At the City Council Meeting on May 2, 2022, City Council voted to move forward to award architecture/engineering services for new synthetic turf fields at Deerpath Community Park to Hitchcock Design Group. As of January 2023, design engineering is complete and the City Council will consider approving funding the project this spring.
At the direction of City Council, City staff evaluated a range of field improvement options, which included improved natural grass or synthetic turf applications for the approximately 10-acre site at Deerpath Community Park. The Parks & Recreation Board hosted Community Workshops to gather resident input on priorities and criteria related to potential athletic field enhancements at Deerpath Community Park.
Athletic Field Improvements Survey Results
In order to get a pulse for community sentiment, we conducted a short survey to gather preliminary information on community priorities related to athletic field improvements at Deerpath Community Park. The online survey was available from October 15-23, 2021. The survey received 761 unique responses, 730 from self-identified Lake Forest residents. Responses from the 31 non-residents are not included in the summary. The survey was administered and analyzed in collaboration with Zencity, a community engagement platform for local government. View the Athletic Field Improvements Survey Results Summary.
Athletic Field Improvements Community Workshops
Workshop 1 - December 15, 2021
The Lake Forest Parks & Recreation Board hosted the first Athletic Field Improvements Community Workshop on December 15 to gather input from residents on options and priorities related to potential field improvements. The workshop included exhibits and a scorecard exercise, round table discussions, and a report out session for sharing table comments. If you missed the workshop, check out the Community Workshop 1 Summary and workshop recap video.
The second Athletic Field Improvements Community Workshop was held virtually on Thursday, February 17. The purpose of the meeting was to answer questions from the first workshop (held on December 15) and provide the community an opportunity to evaluate different design approaches for Deerpath Community Park. If you couldn’t make the meeting, watch the recording or view the presentation slides. A comment form was open through Thursday, February 24 for people who couldn't attend the meeting to share feedback. View the Community Workshop 2 Summary.
City staff investigated the feasibility of natural and synthetic options for a sports complex at Deerpath Community Park. After a community engagement process that gather community feedback on the different design options, City Council voted to move forward with design and engineering for synthetic turf fields.
At the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 21, City Council formally approved construction of synthetic turf athletic field and additional park amenities at Deerpath Community Park.
City Council approved the base athletic fields project for $12.9 million plus $3.1 million for additional amenities, including two restroom buildings with shaded open air pavilions, a playground, fitness stations, and natural area enhancements. Other park improvements include new tennis courts and the City’s first dedicated pickleball courts in the existing court footprint.