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Wilmette Park District Approves Platform Tennis Courts

Four courts and a warming hut are expected to be built at West Park. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

Wilmette Park District board has approved building platform tennis court in the village. 

Wilmette Board of Park commissioners approved constructing four platform tennis courts and a warming hut at West Park during the July 9 meeting. 

The facility to be built at 3555 Lake Ave. is estimated to cost about $1.2 million and two additional courts could be built if demand increases. 

The proposal, however, did not pass without some dissent. Three out of the seven commissioners voted against it, due to concerns that the number of paddle tennis participants would not compensate for the cost of building the facility, and that rising property tax rates were creating a less than optimal environment for new construction projects. 

Commissioners Express Concerns

Commissioner John Olvany was the first to express his concerns, referring to the steady increase in Wilmette property tax rates as one reason why the board ought to reconsider. 

“My taxes are going up and … my assessed valuation for my home is going down,” Olvany said. “I don’t personally think we spent a lot of time on this.” 

Commissioner Darrell Graham also voted against the proposal, citing other major construction projects in Wilmette such as the renovation of the lakefront in Gibson Park. 

“I’m not persuaded by the data that we would attract the number of users needed to make this a self-sustaining, profitable operation,” Graham added.

Break-Even Cost Analysis 

According to a break-even cost analysis, the membership fees of 200 Wilmette residents and 40 non-residents would be required in order to cover construction and operation costs. 

Wilmette Park District President James Brault, who voted in favor of the proposal, said that in one Park District survey 550 people supported the creation of a paddle tennis facility, and 325 residents said they would pay the potential membership cost of $400. For non-residents, the membership fee would be $500.

Commissioner Michael Murdock also voted in favor, and said he was convinced that the facility would generate “significant operating surpluses.” 

“I like the idea that we can provide an outdoor activity to our residents during the winter months, where the options are limited,” Murdock also said. 

Murdock and Brault, along with commissioners James Crowley and Shelley Shelly voted in favor of the proposal, while Olvany, Graham and Commissioner Gary Benz voted against it. 

The next Wilmette Board of Park Commissioners meeting will be held at the Council Chambers of the Village Hall on August 13th at 7:30 p.m.  

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GrossPoint July 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The Wilmette Park District is around $25 Million in Debt, or around $1,000 for every man, woman, child in the village. The Park District board just added another $1.2 Million of debt to that total. We are burdening future generations with mountains of debt for...not healthcare...not education...but all this for *paddle tennis*?
NBrown October 08, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Paddle Tennis is a sport that is growing strongly. The numbers needed to make this profitable for Wilmette are very conservative. No doubt it will be a money maker and a popular activity for residents.

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