Workers from Midwest Sports remove tennis nets in preparation for repairs to courts in La Grange that have been closed since July of 2022. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Workers from Midwest Sports remove tennis nets in preparation for repairs to courts in La Grange that have been closed since July of 2022. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange tennis courts will soon re-open after settlement

Spread the love
dvn tennis courts2

Midwest Sports employees repair cracks in the tennis courts at 53rd and Catherine in La Grange. Closed for more than a year due to safety concerns, the courts should re-open for play soon.

By Steve Metsch

Tennis balls will soon again be flying at La Grange courts that have been closed for more than a year.

Thanks to an agreement between La Grange School District 105 and the La Grange Park District, three courts at the northwest corner of 53rd Street and Catherine Avenue will again be open for play.

Gates to the courts had been padlocked since July 1, 2022.

“Our hope is mid-July,” District Supt. Brian Ganan said when he was asked when the courts will reopen.

“(The new surface) has to cure and we hope to paint the lines,” he said. “We want to get people out there playing again.”

That news should be warmly greeted by the many tennis players often seen there from dawn to dusk except in the winter and rainy days.

Many children have learned to ride their bikes there. Heated games of Whiffle Ball and street hockey are often played on the courts, which are not lighted.

On July 30, 2022, the third of three straight 10-year agreements that had the park district in charge of maintenance of the courts expired. The school district owns the courts.

The park district board decided to not renew the agreement.

When that happened, the school district’s insurance company recommended closing the courts, which had large cracks and could lead to injuries and lawsuits.

Tennis players were not happy.

The two sides, however, eventually came to an agreement that will result in shouts of “love 20.”

“We transferred the ownership back to the school (district),” Jenny Bechtold, executive director of the park district, said on June 21.

“We did give them $85,000 to help them make improvements. We wanted to keep the courts intact,” she said.

Last summer, Bechtold said that because the park district “has limited resources,” it opted out of renewing the 10-year deal.

Supt. Brian Ganan confirmed on June 28 that the $85,000 is being used for the renovations.

“It should, yes, cover just about all (of the cost). That’s the goal,” Ganan said.

Workers from Midwest Sports started repairing the courts in mid-June.

“We were quite pleased because they weren’t supposed to start until mid-July. It was a nice surprise that they came here when they did,” Ganan said.

After the cracks are filled, “it’s almost like a new surface, so it should look really nice. You won’t see the cracks.”

“It’s a very durable, long-lasting surface. That’s important to us,” Ganan said.

The sudden closure last year was met with outrage by many in the community. An on-line petition started by La Grange resident David Wong received 452 signatures from folks wanting the courts repaired and re-opened..

On July 9, 2022, players like Nick Bailey, who lives a block away in Countryside, were floored to discover the three courts padlocked.

“It’s disappointing they can’t figure out some kind of compromise to keep it going. It’s going to sit there, be inviting, and nobody can use it,” Bailey said that day.

Ganan said the school district “didn’t want to shut the courts down.” But its hand was forced by the insurance company that deemed the courts a liability risk.

He and Bechtold both heard from frustrated tennis players last year.

Bechtold said last year “(the tennis courts) are at the end of life and in need of a capital life cycle replacement.”

The last time the courts were completely renovated was in 2004. Regular maintenance can be “quite expensive,” she said.

“It depends one that you need to have done, but to crack fill and reseal every three to four years can be anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000. And, it’s getting more expensive,” Bechtold said last year.

The park district does maintain four tennis courts at Gilbert Park and four more at Sedgwick Park.

“We want to support recreation at parks throughout the community, but, again, we do have limited resources,” Bechtold said. “We have our own facilities and infrastructure that we need to take care of as well.”

Local News

the leadershop logo

LeaderShop Alumni Association to host peaceful rally during Thursday board meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe LeaderShop Alumni Association, a group of volunteers, previous staff members, former board members, funders, donors, and stakeholders who are community minded and energized by the mission of The LeaderShop, will host a peaceful rally in support of change to current leadership for the nonprofit agency. The rally will be held during The…

The Mariano’s store in Frankfort would be among the stores transferred to a new owner if the Kroger-Albertson’s merger is approved. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: Palos Jewel, Oak Lawn Mariano’s to be sold in merger deal

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Kroger and Albertson’s this week released the list of stores the companies plan to sell, should a merger between the grocery giants be approved by regulators. Jewel Food Stores in Alsip and Palos Heights are among the stores listed for sale as well as Mariano’s locations in Oak Lawn, Orland Park, and…

Alan Morales

LeaderShop director faces more charges from former staffers

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The LaGrange-based LeaderShop, a social service agency that recently lost $300,000 in funding, is facing new charges of a toxic work environment, bullying, and inappropriate behavior by Executive Director Alan Morales. Since the story was first published in the Desplaines Valley News on June 24, at least six women have…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty presents a copy of the proclamation honoring the Lyons Mustangs Athletic Club for 100 years to President Gary Benedik. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons Mustangs honored for 100 years of service

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It’s not often a service organization hits 100 years. But there are not many service organizations like the Lyons Mustangs Athletic Club. “We don’t know of any other organization anywhere around here, maybe in the city of Chicago, but maybe around here that has made it 100 years. It’s quite…

Eddie Korosa will perform again at this year's Music in the Park series of concerts in Lyons. (file photo)

Lyons’ Music in the Park series starts July 10

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch The popular Music in the Park series will begin a six-week run on July 10 at Veterans Park in Lyons. Bands will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday through Aug. 14, said Ted Tale, director of parks and recreation for the village. Each night will “feature a vendor…

mccook police star

McCook settles with former police officer

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch More than eight months after the process began, the village of McCook has reached a settlement with former police officer John Kosmowski Jr. “This will end this case for once and for all. Gets it out of our hair even though I don’t have hair,” Mayor Terrance Carr quipped during…

countryside police

Countryside police seek grants for tasers and solar-powered cameras

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch The Countryside Police Department is applying for two grants that are intended to help improve safety. Police Chief Paul Klimek told the city council at its June 12 meeting that he is seeking a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority for tasers. “The state is going to award…

The retiring owners left this message on the sign at the Saunoris Garden Center in Frankfort. (Photos by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: U-Haul buys Saunoris Frankfort location

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Two years after closing its Chicago Ridge location, Saunoris has closed its garden center in Frankfort. U-Haul has acquired the former garden center at 19600 S. Harlem Avenue. No price was announced, but the property had been listed for $2.5 million on real estate websites. The 6.88-acre property, now called…

Nicholas Lipinski now wears the lieutenant’s badge his father Terry, the former chief, wore for the Bridgeview Fire Department. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Son of former Bridgeview fire chief promoted to lieutenant

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch There were a few damp eyes and many big smiles at the most recent meeting of the Bridgeview Village Board. Yep, even firefighters get a bit sentimental, especially when family history is involved. The reason for the emotions was former Bridgeview Fire Chief Terry Lipinski pinned his old lieutenant’s badge…

Houston's Natalie Jacobs (left) and Red Star Ally Schlegel jostle to get to the ball on June 6 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Swanson scores again, Naeher has clean sheet as Fire edge Dash

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Mallory Swanson is Olympics-ready after scoring her fourth goal in four games. Swanson’s left-footed shot in extra time in the first half was the difference in the Chicago Red Stars’ 1-0 win over Houston on July 6 in an NWSL battle before an announced crowd of 5,566 at SeatGeek…

Neighbors

National Committeeman Richard Porter looks ahead to GOP convention as party names new state chair

National Committeeman Richard Porter looks ahead to GOP convention as party names new state chair

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Republicans will gather in Milwaukee next week for what promises to be a historic national convention. Former President Donald Trump will be nominated for the third consecutive time as the party’s presidential nominee, the first major party candidate to win nomination that many times since Franklin…

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is urging a Cook County judge to dismiss a lawsuit members of his staff filed against him last month seeking to force recognition of their union. In a new filing Monday, attorneys for Welch argued the Illinois Legislative Staff Association has no…

The U.N. calls restraint chairs torture. Illinois jails use them every day.

The U.N. calls restraint chairs torture. Illinois jails use them every day.

by GRACE HAUCK ILLINOIS ANSWERS PROJECT Warning: The following article includes mentions of self-harm and profanity. This is the first in a series of stories. McHENRY, Ill. – Vernon L. Brooks Jr. was distraught. Forced into a chair in a jail cell with a black mesh hood over his head, he panicked as he felt…

Pritzker signs health insurance reform measures

Pritzker signs health insurance reform measures

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Wednesday that puts new controls on the state’s health insurance industry, including bans on certain practices companies have used to reduce costs by controlling the amount of health care services a patient receives. The Health Care Protection Act, House Bill 5395,…

Transit heads again ask state for funding help, reject proposals for oversight reform

Transit heads again ask state for funding help, reject proposals for oversight reform

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – It was standing room only in a downtown Chicago committee hearing Tuesday as activists, transit experts and lobbyists hung on the words of the region’s transit agency chiefs.  Public transit has become an increasingly contentious issue in Chicagoland as the Regional Transportation Authority – the funding…

SCOTUS ruling could upend federal corruption cases for Madigan, allies

SCOTUS ruling could upend federal corruption cases for Madigan, allies

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday narrowed the scope of a federal bribery law prosecutors have relied on in their cases against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and several of his allies convicted of bribing him. A jury last spring found those allies – former lobbyists and…

Former GOP state lawmaker, candidate for governor sentenced to 42 months in prison

Former GOP state lawmaker, candidate for governor sentenced to 42 months in prison

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Former Republican State Sen. Sam McCann on Tuesday was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison for stealing nearly $700,000 in campaign funds and attempting to conceal his theft with false reports to state election authorities. In February, McCann pleaded guilty to seven counts of wire…

Menard prison staff picket, citing unsafe working conditions

Menard prison staff picket, citing unsafe working conditions

By MOLLY PARKER Capitol News Illinois   mparker@capitolnewsillinois.com Hundreds of Menard Correctional Center employees and their supporters staged a rally alongside a busy street in Chester on Monday, highlighting what they described as perilous working conditions at the state’s largest maximum-security prison.   The problems at the southern Illinois facility stem from low staffing levels, said…

Pritzker ‘all in’ for Biden following visit to White House last week

Pritzker ‘all in’ for Biden following visit to White House last week

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday he is “all in” for President Joe Biden after visiting the White House last week with other Democratic governors.  He headed to Washington, D.C., to meet with the president and members of the Democratic Governors Association last Wednesday on the heels of Biden’s…

Illinois switching to ACT exams for state assessments

Illinois switching to ACT exams for state assessments

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – When Illinois high school students sit down to take their annual state assessments next year, they will take a different exam than in recent years. The Illinois State Board of Education recently announced that starting next spring, it will use the ACT exam rather than the…