State of the project

JULY 2022


Wilmette Park District staff are working towards ensuring compliance with all the conditions outlined in the Village of Wilmette's Ordinance that approved a Special Use Permit this spring, for the addition of two platform tennis courts and an expansion of the paddle hut:

- Progress is being made on communications with league members with respect to the expectations of behavior and conduct. Another round of communications will be sent out as this season begins. Related behavioral signage for the facility is also in development.

- Engineers are refining a lighting system that will meet the light requirements expressed in the Ordinance.

- Shields on the platform tennis court lights were installed on Thursday, June 16.

- Wilmette Park District staff are working with an electrical engineer to install vacancy sensors on all six courts. They have ordered the majority of supplies required for the vacancy sensors, but there is a substantial lead time for some items. Staff are currently seeking substitutes for those items, in order to speed up the vacancy sensor installation. Courts five and six do not have a basement, and staff will be able to perform the vacancy sensor installation in-house for those two courts. Staff must hire an electrician to rig courts one through four, and have been actively obtaining quotes for this work.

How will the vacancy sensor system work? Each court will have a push button that players can push if the lights on their court go out. This is not a motion sensor. Staff can rig the sensor to go off 10, 15 or 30 minutes after it was pushed. Players must now push the button to turn the lights on. Also, there will still be an overriding shut-off timer to keep the facility in compliance with approved hours of operation.

- At the June 27 Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, Michelle Kelly from Upland Design walked the Park District Board through landscape concepts for West Park. She advised that her team of consultants has taken a layered approach to provide a buffering of the park in many different locations. Existing trees will remain, as they are to provide a first line of visual defense. To bolster this defense, Upland proposes planting 6'-8' tall evergreen shrubs along certain courts. These shrubs will continue to grow in height. The next layer of landscaping will be a berm planting along certain portions of the property line. There would also be the addition of a combination of native shade trees such as the Kentucky Coffeetree and White Oak, both of them 50' to 80' feet fall at maturity. Nonnative trees such as the Black Hill Spruce and Vanderwolf Limber Pine may be layered in for diversity and density. Last, Upland recommends ornamental plantings placed strategically throughout West Park. These ornamental plantings such as the Eastern Redbud will add buffering at a lower level. This would conclude phase one of the landscape plan, to be implemented by August 30. Phase two involves all other enhancements to the west of the park, which includes a lot of native perennials such as the Prairie Dropseed and Butterfly Weed, as well as some native ornamentals. Phase two would begin spring of 2023.

View landscape concepts here


West Park Enhancement Project Update

At the April 11 Park Board meeting, the Board of Park Commissioners discussed details regarding the proposed enhancements to West Park, which received a negative recommendation by the Wilmette Zoning Board of Appeals on April 6.

Commissioners examined all aspects in depth: sound, light, parking, green space, and the community's response. At the end of the discussion, the Board voted 6-0 (with Allison Frazier absent) to modify the conceptual plan.

The existing concept will be scaled back to reduce the proposed number of platform tennis courts from four to two, (to be located south of the currentcourts) and completely eliminate the proposed pickleball courts and associated lighting. The currently-proposed expanded paddle hut, associated decking, and parking reconstruction remains in place.

West Park's playground will remain in its current location. Plans to update playground equipment have been put on hold pending further analysis.

Notable items discussed:

  • Lighting - assuring appropriate shields, functional timers, minimally acceptable brightness levels
  • Potential for additional discussion with sound, light consultants
  • The importance of tree replacement, landscaping and additional plantings
  • Reasons for expanded hut size related to capacity limits
  • 10 p.m. vs. 11 p.m. "lights out" at paddle: 11 p.m. is industry standard, and negatively impactful to adjust, given league parameters
  • Acknowledgement of West Park neighbor concerns, and the need to balance them with the recreational interests of the community

Board Members and staff will present the modified conceptual plan to the Wilmette Village Board for consideration of a special-use permit on April 26.

MARCH 2022
The Park District has engaged sound and photometric output specialists to evaluate the potential sound and light impact from the proposed platform tennis and pickleball courts. Concurrently, our staff is evaluating sound mitigation material, as well as landscaping around the area, to create a barrier between the courts and nearby homes.