City Parks & Recreation Department

The City of Mattoon, Illinois has several parks with playgrounds and also several sports complexes that we have written details about below! Please enjoy!

Parks in Mattoon, Illinois

Lawson Park

Lawson Park Playground

Located on the southeast part of Mattoon at 800 S 14th St. Lawson was opened in 1923. The land was given to the City by Mrs. Jennie Pepper Lawson. There are two entrances to this park, one is just off of Marshall Avenue on South 13th Street and the other one is on South 14th Street.

New playground equipment was installed in the fall of 2011, thanks to the Kiwanis Club of Mattoon.

Lawson is Home of “Graham Field” Cal Ripken Baseball, along with 4 tennis courts, pickle ball, batting cage, 2 pavilions and a bid field area for soccer, football and baseball.

Lawson Park Graham Field was chosen to host the first ever Cal Ripken World Series August 19-27, 2000. On July 6th, 1999 at a press conference held at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Babe Ruth League president announced the renaming of its youth baseball 12 and under division from the Bambino Division to the Cal Ripken Baseball Division. Lawson Park also had the honor of hosting the first ever 11 to 12 Year Old Bambino World Series, August 14-21, 1999. This tournament marked the 30th anniversary of Mattoon hosting our first Babe Ruth World Series.

Other tournaments include the Cal Ripken 12 yr old World Series, 2004 Babe Ruth Softball 12U World Series. The 2000 and the 2002 World Series was televised to homes all over the world by Fox Sports Net.

Lawson is also home to the YMCA Soccer league in the fall and the week long British Soccer camp where each child is coached by a member of the Challenger’s team. Coaches are flown to all areas of the USA to help these children from ages 3 to 14. Contact YMCA for more info.

Peterson Park

Peterson Park Sign

Located on the northeast side of Mattoon at 500 Broadway Avenue, Peterson Park is just one block north of Illinois Route 16 with two entrances, one at 5th Street and one at 3rd Street. Peterson Park is the City of Mattoon’s largest park.

Peterson was given to the City by Judge Abner M. Peterson in 1890 and was annexed into the City in 1903. Extensive improvements where done in 1907. In 1912 the addition of the baseball diamond and grandstand where built, which led to the organization of a city baseball league.

Peterson Park Sign
On June 4, 1968 the ball field was renamed to “Grimes Field” after Bill Grimes and was the home to the 1969 Babe Ruth World Series for 15 year olds. This was followed up with a Tournament of Champions for 16-18 year olds in 1974. Over the years with continued help of great volunteer organizations, baseball continues to grow and numerous tournaments such as the Babe Ruth Ohio Valley Regional, American Legion, State and Regional, have all been held at Grimes Field.

This Field is geared towards Babe Ruth 13-15 year olds, American Legion Jr. and Sr. baseball leagues, has a covered bleacher seating capacity of nearly 3,000. Anyone interested in posting advertising signs at Grimes Field, please call 217-234-3611.

Grimes FieldIn the spring of 2007 the city began asphalting the roads in the park and they were completed May 18th, just in time for summer, making this park popular to walk around. One lap around the inside of the road is approximately 0.31miles.

The Peterson house, original home to the Peterson Family, is now the home to the Mattoon Chamber of commerce.

Peterson has a ball field, a playground, pavilion, Demars Center, rotary band shell, restrooms and picnic areas scattered throughout the park.

Peterson Park is home to countless family reunions, baby showers, wedding receptions, meetings, company picnics, etc. The pavilion, Demars Center, and Rotary Band shell are available for rent.

The Pavilion at Peterson Park has 3 sections to the pavilion, east, center and west. Electricity is available in each space by the counters.

The Demars Center is located in the back of the park is a heated and air conditioned building with a full kitchen.

The Rotary Band shell is located in between the Pavilion and the Demars and has been home to concerts, weddings, fundraisers, etc.

For information on renting please contact the Park office at 217-234-3611 or Contact Parks.

Peterson Park is the home to Mattoon’s Tourism events. Bagelfest, which is held annually in July, originally started in 1986 downtown on Broadway Avenue and was moved to Peterson Park in 2000. Holiday Lightworks display runs from the weekend prior to Thanksgiving through Christmas. This lightworks display is the largest in the area and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Little Kinzel Park

Located in the southwest part of Mattoon at 28th Street and Marion Avenue, Little Kinzel Park has a playground area, basketball court, and an open field for youth soccer and football.

Vanlaningham Park Playground

Vanlaningham Park

This park is nestled in the northwest part of Mattoon at North 30th Street and Garfield Avenue. Turn at north at North 29th Street, follow it to Garfield Avenue, turn left, and in 1.5 blocks you will arrive at the parking lot.

The City purchased this ground in November 1959 from Mr. & Mrs. Leon Vanlaningham to provide a park and playground facilities for the City of Mattoon. You will find playground equipment and an open field area for youth soccer, football, and baseball.

Cunningham Park

This park is located in the north central part of Mattoon at 12th Street and Champaign Avenue. Cunningham Park is the City of Mattoon’s oldest park having been established in 1858 and originally known as the Allison-Cunningham Park.

For many years this park was adjacent to Washington Elementary School which was demolished in July 2004.

This park has a small playground area, a basketball court, and a big open area for play.

Sports Fields

Roundhouse Complex

Girls Complex – Mattoon Girls Softball Association

Aerial Photo of Sports Fields in Mattoon IL

The Girls Complex, located at 311 North 6th Street, is home of the Mattoon Pride Fast Pitch, Mattoon Cobras Fast Pitch, and Babe Ruth Softball.

This complex has four fields with plenty of room for family and fans in the sunshade-covered bleachers with great views of the fields and the scoreboards. There is also a concession stand, press box, restrooms, pavilion with picnic tables, and plenty of parking.

Since its inception in 1984, Babe Ruth Softball has shown tremendous growth. It has become a premier softball program throughout the United States and Canada. It is designed for girls through the age of eighteen.

8 U Rookie League
8 U Rookie League is as close to regular Softball as you can get, taking into consideration that the girls are 8 years old and younger. The games will be 6 innings, with a 1 hour 15 minute time limit. The 10 Run Rule is in effect after four complete innings. Pitching is from machines at a distance of 35 feet.

10U League
The games are 6 innings, with a 1 hour 15 minute time limit. The 10 Run Rule is in effect after four complete innings. Pitching is from a distance of 35 feet.

12U League
The games are 6 innings, with a 1 hour 15 minute time limit. The 10 Run Rule is in effect after four complete innings. Pitching is from a distance of 40 feet.

Mattoon Cobra Softball League is a traveling team that; promotes and operates fast pitch softball for girls ages 8 through 18; providing the youth with structure and fundamental learning experiences in competitive softball with a goal of attending a National Championship; develop and promote self-confidence and self-esteem in each player.

Mattoon Pride Softball League has a purpose and mission to give the girls instructional guidance and experience in playing fast pitch softball at the highest level of competition possible. Teams are traveling to tournaments in and out of the State and go where they must to develop girls who want to play in High school and prepare for college. Their emphasis is always on sportsmanship, character and fun, over winning.

Girls Softball ComplexThe Girls Complex also hosts the YMCA Rocking Chair League on Monday nights June thru August. ALL Players must be 40 years of age except for 2 players and they must be 35 to 39 years of age.

Boys Complex – Mattoon Junior Baseball League

Located at 10th Street and Richmond Avenue this complex is home to Mattoon Junior Baseball. This complex was organized around 1986 and the building was completed in 1993.

The complex has 4 lighted fields, with plenty of room for family and fans in the bleachers, scoreboards, concession stand, press box, restrooms, pavilion with picnic tables, plenty of parking and in 2011 a new storage building. The League continues to help upkeep and maintain the facility.

The original league known as the Jaycee League was formed in the late 1960’s and later became Mattoon Junior Baseball League.

This league is for boys baseball ages 7 to 8 Machine Pitch and ages 9 to 10 Kid Pitch.

Fall League baseball is also played sometimes by various leagues.

Mattoon Junior Football Field

Located at 6th & Shelby Ave., this is home to the Mattoon Breakers. Junior Football is for grades 5th thru 8th. Flag football on Tuesdays is also available for 3rd & 4th Grades.

The Mattoon Junior Football was organized in the 1960’s. In 2003 MJFL began the construction of their complex. 2004 was opening year for the building which houses a press box, concession and restrooms. MJFL has continued to make improvements to the complex by adding lighting, viewing platform, bleachers, sunshades, sound system, flag poles, fencing, landscaped sign and a storage building.

Junior Football League players during game on a football field in Mattoon IL

JFL hosts a summer Football camp by EIU Panther starting cornerback & safety Ray McElroy, who in 1995 went NFL Pro Football with the Indianapolis Colts for 4 years and then on to the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. Ray is currently the Chaplain for the Chicago Bears.

Rotating cities, at the beginning of the season a JFL holds the annual Jamboree where several teams come together to scrimmage with the offense going for 10 – 15 minutes followed by the defense. This allows the players used to a game situation and to let the coaching staff try players in positions and view their progress. Cities will have one team from each grade 5th thru 8th and each team there plays during the day on 4 different 40 yard fields. This event usually runs from 10am to 3:30pm.

Kinzel Field

Located at 22nd and Marion – Church League

T-Ball Field

This complex located at 3rd & Shelby is home to boys and girls Babe Ruth T-ball ages 4, 5, 6, or 7 years old by April 30th. This complex has 4 fields, with plenty of room for family and fans in the sun shade covered bleachers. It is fully equipped with a concession stand and restrooms.

The new complex, opened May 27th, 2006. Numerous volunteers, Babe Ruth and the T-Ball League help construct and continually maintain this complex.

T-ball usually has at least 30 teams, playing 6 weekends beginning in May. The last weekend will host an all stars game of the 7 years olds as they prep them for moving up to the next league.

2020 T-ball Registration Form

More Recreational Spaces

Bike Path for Walking and Riding

The City of Mattoon has a bicycle and walking path beginning at 10th and Richmond following a former train track bed, It starts at the boy’s baseball complex and runs east all the way to the City of Charleston. As part of the OSLAD grant by the Illinois Department of natural Resources, the Bike Path was recently extended to loop all the way around the Roundhouse Complex from 10th St. to Logan and back. One complete pass around the complex is 1.6 miles.

Skate Park

This Facility is located at Logan and Shelby. It’s constructed of concrete, with ramps, steps, rails, etc and being used by numerous skateboarders and BMX bikes. The design was derived by the City’s staff and a group of skateboarders giving ideas and suggestions to Skate Park Designers. It was constructed as part of an OSLAD grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Grand opening was held October 10th, 2009 with skate board competitions. This is the only concrete skate park in the area so please help us maintain the area. It is open during daylight hours only at your own risk.

League Website Links

Recreational sports in Mattoon are managed by the individual leagues, independent of the City of Mattoon. The following are shortcuts to each league’s website where you can learn more.

Mattoon Babe Ruth
Mattoon Cobra Softball
Mattoon Girls Softball Association
Mattoon Junior Baseball League
Mattoon Post 88 American Legion
Mattoon Pride Softball
Mattoon Junior Football League