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  • David A.F. Sweet

New Fields and Pickleball Courts Enhance Deerpath Community Park

By David A. F. Sweet The Deerpath Community Park Showcase Event featured a chance for residents to test an obstacle course, check out the new athletic fields, enjoy a guided walk and more on May 4. The new park – which sits just west of the Recreation Center at 400 Hastings Road – presents a host of amenities, including top-of-the-line synthetic turf athletic fields, two new open-air pavilions with restrooms, a walking trail and fitness stations, a nature trail and natural-area enhancements, and a new playground. Due to strong community interest in pickleball, the park also includes eight pickleball courts.

 

“This is a transformative project for Lake Forest. It is the largest capital investment in our recreational assets in decades,” said Mayor Stanford Tack. “The state-of-the-art Deerpath Community Park offers activities for all ages. It is a great gift not just for athletes to enjoy, but for the whole community.”

 

The City of Lake Forest officially opened the renovated Deerpath Community Park during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 30, 2023. By opening Deerpath Community Park then, residents enjoyed the walking path throughout the winter, and teams could began practicing and playing on the fields in February.

“With the nice weather this winter, kids have been playing on the fields since early February,” Tack noted. “The spring rains that prevented play in the past are no longer an issue with the new turf fields.”

 

The park also features eight sports cameras that allow people to watch live game broadcasts or replays. The cameras use the same technology as the City’s Everett Park sports camera pilot program, which resulted in distribution of over 30 games to 4,000 viewers.

 

“We’ve heard positive feedback from Lake Forest residents who appreciate being about to watch games regardless of location,” said City Manager Jason Wicha. “If a parent is working late, grandparents live out of state, or an athlete wants to relive a great play, they can watch live games and replays at www.WatchLFSports.com.”

 

Deerpath Community Park is the culmination of a years-long planning effort that began with City Council approval of a Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan in 2019 that identified synthetic turf playing fields as a top priority. In 2021, the City undertook a robust community engagement process that resulted in the Park Board recommendation to pursue synthetic turf fields.

 

The following year, the City Council approved engineering design funding for synthetic turf fields at Deerpath Community Park. City staff then worked with a professional consultant team and engaged a City Manager’s Advisory Group to provide recommendations for achieving the best possible design.

 

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