Watering baseball and soccer fields should be easier and cheaper for Lombard Park District after the village board this week approved the use of wells for irrigating park properties.
A change to the municipal code allows wells, instead of the village's water lines, to be used for irrigation of parks larger than 25 acres that have a water retention pond.
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The change is welcome news to the park district, which may install a well-fed irrigation system for two lighted softball fields at Madison Meadow as soon as this summer, Executive Director Paul Friedrichs said.
Building a well instead of connecting to village water lines will decrease the cost of installing a system and save the park district from paying municipal water rates, he said.
"We would have the well so there wouldn't be any expense outside of electricity to run the pumps and maintenance," Friedrichs said. "Having a water source there will only help the overall conditions of our athletic fields."
Five park district fields already are irrigated through village water line connections, including the south football field at Madison Meadow, two new soccer fields and two baseball fields at Sunset Knoll.
But maintaining fields on the rest of the park district's 450 acres can be difficult in summer months without irrigation, Friedrichs said.
"It's becoming more and more evident that we do need some type of a water supply so we can get the fields worked on in the summer," Friedrichs said. "It's just hard to repair turf damage at that time of year without some type of irrigation."
The park district is experiencing increased use of some of its fields, he said, including soccer fields, which this fall were in high demand from 650 players in a park district league, several teams with an affiliate club and 50 players on another local soccer club.
Having a built-in water source will allow the district to help grass regrow during late July and early August, the only break between the spring and fall soccer seasons.
Changing the code to allow wells for park irrigation "demonstrates the village's commitment to good government and community partnerships that result in reduced cost to taxpayers," Lombard Public Works Director Carl Goldsmith said in a memo.
"It will give us the ability in the future to irrigate many of our athletic fields," Friedrichs said.