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Lake Bluff Park District wrestles with pickleball rules


The Lake Bluff Park District is studying whether to change current hours for pickleball in 2024, but differences remain in the village regarding field use at the two parks.

At the Park Board meeting on Feb. 26, Park District staff discussed with commissioners the issue of increasing pickleball hours at both Blair and Artesian parks based on community input results from a recently released survey that collected nearly 400 responses.

This year, staff has suggested open play hours at Blair Park from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. There will be no open play on the other two days, but the courts can be used for lessons or special events between 10:00 – 16:00 on Sundays and 08:00 – 19:00 on Mondays.

Last year, Blair Park was open for open play from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, with other programs held on other days.

The possible time changes come about because the Park District is trying to make additional money from pickleball at Blair Park. The Park District’s revenue for the last two years was about $20,000. Currently, the Park District is budgeting $23,250 in revenue for 2024, but staff projects an additional $12,850 in new gross revenue if days and hours at Blair Park are extended.

Staff also proposed a plan to use the four courts at Artesian Park for playing purposes Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Park District still faces unresolved issues regarding the use of courts in the village.

In July, following noise complaints from neighbors, the village formally contacted the Park District about whether village approval would be required to convert the Blair Park courts from tennis to pickleball.

Play was temporarily suspended but quickly resumed after the Park District shortened operating hours, reduced the number of courts at Blair Park and opened play at Artesian Park.

But the village and the Park District have yet to reach an agreement on continued use of Blair Park, where pickleball has been played since 2015.

The Park Board wants to reach an agreement before changing the hours in 2024, according to board president Jennifer Beeler.

“No one wants to live in an uncertain situation,” he said. “We want to work with the village and the community to solve this problem as soon as possible.”

The two sides are trying to reach an agreement, Village Administrator Drew Irvin wrote in an email.

As for pickleball-related noise complaints, Beeler noted that the Park District is considering additional mitigation efforts.

“We want to do this to make sure the noise is not disruptive,” he said.

Other survey results showed that Friday through Sunday are the days people most prefer to play pickleball. Evening hours are the best time to play, slightly ahead of the morning; More than 56% of respondents say they play games for one to two hours per week.

Blair Park became the most preferred player, collecting 62% of the votes. Artesian Park, located on the first block of Sheridan Place, was preferred by just over a quarter of survey respondents, with other locations taking up the rest.

The survey was developed as a joint project with the Lake Forest Park and Recreation Department to gauge community interest and needs.

There are eight new pickleball courts at the newly renovated Deerpath Community Park in Lake Forest.


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