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Naperville Little League Baseball offers $200,000 donation for synthetic fields

The Naperville Little League Baseball organization has offered the park district a $200,000 donation to install synthetic turf at two fields.

The park district board will discuss the idea at next Thursday’s meeting, although officials said they’re still determining the total cost estimates for the project. The infields under consideration are Field No. 5 at DuPage River Sports Complex and Field No. 5 at Knoch Park, also known as Memorial Field.

There are numerous advantages to synthetic turf infields as opposed to natural grass. Most important is the enhanced drainage that greatly reduces the need to cancel games due to rain and unplayable fields.

“Overall, the transitions will improve the playability of the fields, reduce rain makeups that are required … provide a more consistent playing surface, as well as reducing some of the field prep that’s associated with baseball fields,” said Naperville Park District Executive Director Brad Wilson.

Officials said the synthetic turf installation would be similar to projects completed on park district multipurpose fields at Commissioners Park, Knoch Park and Nike Sports Complex.

According to Wilson, one Little League field would be completed in each of the next two years, likely starting with DuPage River Sports Complex in 2023.

Wilson said the next move for the park district — if the board is interested in accepting the $200,000 — would be to develop a donation agreement outlining the necessary steps for completing the project.

The park district would work with the NLLB and FieldTurf, the company that installed the synthetic fields at Knoch Park and Nike Sports Complex, to determine the type of product best suited for the two chosen fields. Wilson said a portable pitching mound likely would be utilized so the fields could be used for other park district programs.

“Those are some of the details still that we’ll work through in the design,” Wilson said.

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