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Turf Fire Damage Repairs to Cost Park District $15,000

By Paul Biasco | July 10, 2013 3:34pm
 Fireworks damage that left a massive charred spot on the artificial turf field in Lincoln Park near North Avenue has forced recreational sports leagues to cancel all games this week.
Lincoln Park Fireworks Damage
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LINCOLN PARK — Soccer players will be sidelined for at least a week as the city ponies up $15,000 to repair the burned turf field in Lincoln Park.

The field, which was charred July 4 when a fire in a barrel raged out of control, has been unplayable on since due to the extent of the damage.

The Chicago Park District was forced to bring in an outside contractor to repair the approximately $2 million field, and those repairs are expected to be complete later this week, according to spokesperson Jessica Maxey-Faulkner.

The repairs will include removing a large chunk of the artificial turf near the center of the field where a garbage can melted into the pitch.

It is unclear if the cost to the park district will also include reimbursing organizations that rent out the field for recreational leagues at the cost of $225 to $250 per hour.

Leagues such as Players Sport and Social Group and Chicago Sport and Social typically hold four or five games at the field per night.

"That's the prime location. It's a really nice field when it's not burnt halfway through the field," said Krista Scyphers, a marketing director for Players Sport and Social Group.

Scyphers said the league will likely treat the lost week as a rainout.

The park district will be working with any leagues that have lost revenue to determine the possibility of make-up games, according to Maxey-Faulkner.

"It's been really disappointing. Obviously it's just a small chunk of what we do in the summer, but it's just kind of a bummer," Scyphers said.

Chicago police said they are working with the park district in their investigation into the incident.

Witnesses of the fire said a group of about 100 people gathered for an Independence Day celebration were lighting off fireworks, and suspected that they caused the fire.