A crowd of about 40 people gathered at the Park District headquarters in The Park for a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Saturday morning to officially open the newly resurfaced soccer field.

Cathleen McDermott, park board president, said, “It has been over 10 years since we first laid down the first blade of artificial turf and after a lot of use it is now time to open the new field. The original field was put in at a cost of over $800,000. Now, after 12 years, the cost of replacement was $314,000. I am happy to point out that much of the cost was absorbed through fees that the users of the field paid — $203,000 since the field was installed.”

Steve Thomas, assistant director, and Matt Walsh, the park board’s vice president cut the ribbon, which freed a gang of soccer kids to scramble onto the artificial field to try it out and say they were one of the first to “score a goal” on the new surface.

The other park commissioners — John Doss, Roy Sansone, and Eric Entler — were also on hand to celebrate. Joe Byrnes, who was a park commissioner when the board voted to install the artificial turf for the first time, smiled when he remembered Dave Novak, then the park executive director, confidently declaring, “If we build it they will come.”

In her statement right before the ribbon cutting, McDermott said, “The field not only hosts the Forest Park Youth Soccer Association, but also Park District Flag Football, Lacrosse and even Ultimate Frisbee for our village young adults.”