Fans of platform tennis will soon be able to have their say after Wilmette Park District board approved hosting a public hearing on the sport during Monday’s meeting.
“Probably in the first part of June is what I’m targeting,” said Steve Wilson, executive director, Wilmette Park District, regarding a date for the public hearing.
Platform tennis, also known as paddle, is a “down-sized game of tennis,” where the courts are a quarter the size of a standard tennis court, according to the American Platform Tennis Association.
A fusion of racquetball, squash and tennis, platform tennis is an outdoor sport suitable for winter because it’s played on a raised platform with heating systems beneath it to melt off snow and ice.
Developed in New York in the late 1920s, the sport was mainly played in private sports clubs along the North Shore, but has since taken off with park districts. Winnketa offers platform tennis through its park district and Glenview Park District is planning to build courts at Glenview National 9 Golf Course, 2800 W. Lake Ave.
Watch the sport in action: National Platform Tennis Championships Held in Deerfield.
“Based on the data we have been able to gather through the country clubs that have platform tennis … there definitely seems to be a growing demand for it,” Wilson said.
Wilmette Park District estimates it would cost between $1 million to $1.2 million to install four courts at West Park, 3555 Lake Ave.
The park district first considered offering platform tennis in 2009. In 2010, the district conducted an electronic survey and received nearly 300 responses about platform tennis from its database of 12,000 users.
“Not everyone who responded to the survey thinks it’s a great idea, but there’s definitely enough there that made us think we had something that we should keep considering,” Wilson said.
The sport was held off at the time because the park district was focusing on the maintenance of the lakefront and the golf course master plan.
“Now that we have a bit of clarity at least on the golf course master plan, it’s been a topic that our board has brought back to the front burner from the back burner,” Wilson said.