Pickleball courts, new playground coming to Libertyville park

The first permanent pickleball courts in Libertyville's park system are under construction at Paul M. Neal park on the village's northwest side.

A spot just west of the tennis court is being prepared for four pickleball courts. More of the popular facilities are planned at other locations as the village continues with improvements outlined in a parks master plan.

Village officials this week also approved a $208,180 contract to buy and install playground equipment, bringing the total investment for upgrades at the 6.9-acre neighborhood park to about $424,000.

The village has been working off its 2018 parks master plan to update one park or playground per year.

That plan put village officials "on a track where we're consistently investing in our parks on an annual basis," said Trustee Pete Garrity, who chairs the board's parks and recreation committee.

Paul M. Neal park, named for a former mayor, is in the Interlaken Valley neighborhood east of Butterfield Road south of Route 137.

Work wasn't planned there this year, but that changed when a grant for planned work at Nicholas-Dowden Park was delayed.

Tennis courts at Nicholas-Dowden Park and one basketball court at Charles Brown Park have temporary striping to allow for pickleball, but there are no permanent dedicated facilities.

The village had $840,150 budgeted this fiscal year for improvements to the park and playground area at Nicholas-Dowden Park in the south-central part of town, per the master plan. But when the state grant funding was delayed, the parks and recreation committee selected Paul Neal Park for improvements from several alternatives.

The park was identified as having room for pickleball courts with little disturbance to existing amenities and as a good place for neighbors or new learners to play, Village Administrator Kelly Amidei said.

Garrity said pickleball has been a public favorite in surveys and focus groups.

"Paul Neal popped up and it all tied together - we need to do more for our residents in the pickleball realm," Garrity said. Pickleball courts also topped the list of a just-completed recreation survey, he added.

Amidei said a $400,000 state grant will be applied for work on the north side of Nicholas-Dowden Park to begin next summer. That will include more area and parking for tournament-style pickleball and larger groups, she said.

That project also calls for a "destination" playground, a new basketball court, two dedicated pickleball courts, a linear skate park, a vegetative swale and a walking loop, Amidei said.

The park is split by Crane Boulevard. On the south side of the park, work is in progress on a $6.4 million flood control project. That involves excavating 6 to 9 feet to create a basin big enough to hold the equivalent of 38.5 acres of stormwater, 1 foot deep.

The village also has applied for a grant to help fund an estimated $992,000 in improvements at Butler Lake Park, which is next on the master projects list.

Plans call for a playground, stone and wood bench seating, a shelter, a pollinator garden, connected walking path, more parking, a climbing net challenge course and other amenities.

  Work to create four pickleball courts continued Friday just west of the tennis court at Paul M. Neal Park in Libertyville. Mick Zawislak/
The Libertyville village board this week approved a contract for $208,180 with BCI Burke of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, for the purchase and installation of playground equipment at Paul M. Neal Park on the northwest side of the village. Courtesy of village of Libertyville
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