Make Your Voice Heard: Pickleball/Tennis Courts Meeting Feb. 16

Attention, ECTA members and friends!

Evanston Parks & Recreation will be holding an open forum during their board meeting this Thursday, February 16, (6 p.m. Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 N. McCormick) to hear from community members about converting certain tennis courts to pickleball-only courts this spring.

If you are interested in voicing your opinion about which/how many courts at Bent Park, Burnham Shores, Robert Crown, and James Park will be converted to pickleball only when those courts are resurfaced in April/May of this year, please attend this meeting! The last two meetings held by the city on this topic were last-minute (called by pickleball players) and invite-only (for both pickleball and tennis players), respectively—both meetings were attended largely by pickleball players. Members of the ECTA board attended both, but we cannot speak for everyone.

The tennis community needs to speak up.

A (non-final) vote taken of attendees at the last meeting resulted in a recommendation to completely convert both (2) courts at Bent Park to pickleball, 2 courts at Robert Crown to pickleball, and 1 court at James Park to pickleball. The vote was to make Burnham Shores tennis only.

While some people have suggested continuing to stripe some courts at each location for both tennis and pickleball, as the city was already doing, the vast majority of both pickleball and tennis players have requested dedicated courts for their mutual sports—this will make lines clearer to see for all and also give pickleball players more than one court on a standard tennis court, due to the smaller size of a pickleball court.

The city does not have the budget (or approved space) to build new pickleball courts at this time, so the only solution right now is to convert some tennis courts to pickleball only.

Please be aware that once this decision is made by the city, it cannot easily be undone in the future due to the expense of conversation, which is more expensive and complicated than simply striping courts. It is TBD which other courts in Evanston may be resurfaced and converted to pickleball in the future.

Note that the courts mentioned above are the only ones in Evanston that will be resurfaced and considered for pickleball conversion at this time due to budgeting (these locations have been on the list for resurfacing for over a year due to poor court conditions).

Many of you may have emailed the new director of Parks & Rec, Audrey Thompson, with your thoughts on this issue earlier this year (she has received over 100 emails from both pickleball players and tennis players, to date). If you are unable to attend tomorrow night’s meeting, I recommend emailing Audrey (again, if it will be your second time) at to say that although you cannot be there this Thursday, you want your vote to count, and express your thoughts on the courts at Bent Park, Burnham Shores, Robert Crown, and James Park, specifically.

It should be noted that a forth and final open forum on this issue will be held in March by Parks & Rec, but a date for that meeting has not yet been set, so this week’s meeting remains critical.

Note: If you did not receive the official memo that Thompson sent out to pickleball and tennis players this week, feel free to email ECTA President Debbie Cassell at, and she will forward you that memo.

Make your voice heard before it’s too late.

Thank you,
ECTA Board of Directors