Winnemac Turf Project
From: Coach Cameron Mcconnell
The playing surface of Winnemac baseball diamond #5 is in such poor shape that it not only spends a majority of the spring being unusable, but it is also dangerous for student-athletes to practice and compete on. Both batters boxes and the catcher's box are dug out roughly 10 - 16 inches below the rest of the home plate area, causing them to pool water if there is even the slightest amount of rain, and presenting dangerous footing when there isn't. One wrong step or move can easily lead to a significant foot/ankle injury (something that we have had happen twice in the last two years). The same is true around the rest of the infield. 1st base is roughly 2.5 feet below second and third base. There has been so much erosion of dirt around first base that earlier this season we found a cement block with an old metal base anchor protruding from the ground. We were lucky to discover it before the game started so we could dig it up and remove it, otherwise someone could have been severely injured.
Additionally, the infield playing surface isn't the only issue. There is roughly a three foot drop from the back of the infield grass to the outfield, which creates significant risk any time an infielder is running to the outfield or an outfielder is running into the infield. The outfield grass is also anything but level, with every single step leading to a new divot or hill. Lastly, there is a large sewer grate in the middle of shallow left field, which is beyond dangerous.
Credit: Craig Newman
Credit: Alex V. Hernandez/Block Club Chicago
Amundsen High School baseball players try to dry their baseball field at Winnemac Park April 21, 2022.
May 12th Update
AAF hosted Alderman Vasquez, Tiffany Sostrin and London Walther of the Chicago Park District and Mike Vacala from Winnemac PAC to hear results of the Alderman's Turf Survey and to continue the conversation surrounding Turf at Winnemac Park fields at their May Board Meeting. Discussions included funding a project like this and reviewing the process from design to installation.
The AAF formed a committee that will be made up of board members and community members to continue these conversations with Alderman Vasquez and the Chicago Park District.