RAVENSWOOD — Last week, kids were playing soccer at Chase Park by kicking their ball into a goal someone made out of plumbing pipes and duct tape, according to frequent park-goer Byron Caal.
"[The goal] was about to collapse," said Caal, 33, a lifelong soccer player who comes to the park with his 2½-year-old son after church a couple times a week.
But soon, makeshift goals may not be necessary.
Chase Park, 4701 N. Ashland Ave., is slated for a serious upgrade in the form of a 77,000-square-foot artificial turf field, city officials announced this week.
The Park District will be replacing the current field with a new artificial turf field, which will include two baseball fields and a soccer field, according to a news release.
The project should be completed by early 2016, according to Chicago Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner.
Currently, the fields at Chase Park aren't "very nice," according to nearby resident Justin Carrino, 38.
"That space could definitely use an upgrade," said Carrino, a stay-at-home dad who visits the park often with his 18-month-old daughter. "I prefer grass, but any investment that the city wants to make in parks is great for us."
Artificial turf not only reduces maintenance costs by eliminating the use of fertilizers and herbicides, but it also helps conserve water and lowers the risk of injuries, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.
"It's great," Caal said. "You don't have to mess around with mud and dirt, there are no bumps and you get nice grass all of the time."
In addition to putting down turf, the Park District will upgrade the lighting and resurface and re-strip the four-lane track. The entire project will cost the Park District $2 million, according to the release.
Chase Park is a "very heavily utilized park," according to Maxey-Faulkner.
She added via email: "It boasts one of our largest day camp enrollments each year."
Upgrading Chase Park is one of a few positive changes going on in the neighborhood right now, according to Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th.)
"This latest investment in Chase Park is a crucial step in completing the transformation of Lawrence Avenue, which includes a new outdoor campus at McPherson School, the Lawrence Avenue Streetscape and the Ravenswood Station Retail Development," Pawar said in the news release.
Ravenswood isn't the only neighborhood to get a new artificial turf field.
Three new turf fields are slated to open later this fall at the following locations: Lindblom Park, 6054 S. Damen Ave., Lincoln Park and the park at National Teachers Academy, 55 W. Cermak Road.
The city plans to open six more turf fields around the city in 2015, according to the news release.