Parents are pushing for repairs to two tennis courts near Pleasant Lane School in Lombard Elementary District 44 that they say are no longer safe, leading the school district and Lombard Park District to begin discussing a possible partnership to fix the cracking courts.
The courts are on school district property, but always have been maintained by the park district, Executive Director Paul Friedrichs said. No formal agreement allocates responsibility for the courts' upkeep, but leaders of both entities say they are open to collaborating to make them usable once again.
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The courts are "coming to the end of their useful life," Friedrichs said, and while there is $10,000 in the budget this year to remove them, the park district now is looking into other options.
To remove the old courts and replace them with new ones would cost more than $100,000, but the park district determined rehabbing the existing courts could be cheaper.
"We do think they could be repaired for something substantially lower than that," Friedrichs said.
District 44 Superintendent Jim Blanche said the district is willing to cooperate, but any possible cost-sharing or financial contribution would be a school board decision.
Lombard resident Cathy McNulty, whose sons attend Pleasant Lane, said she wants the courts to be fixed and not removed.
"Neighbors are talking about the grass growing on the courts," McNulty said. "I don't ever remember them being in good shape."
Her second-grade son, Quinn, and his friends have gathered student signatures while McNulty and others have gathered about 60 adult signatures on a petition asking for repairs.
"They're actually saying they want tennis courts so they can join the tennis club in fourth grade," McNulty said about the boys who have circulated petitions.
Pleasant Lane gym classes and a tennis club for fourth- and fifth-graders use the courts, but Friedrichs said the park district does not host any programs there.