Grant Park to get new pickleball courts, refurbished tennis courts

C3 Presents, which runs Lollapalooza, has donated $500,000 to the Chicago Park District.

SHARE Grant Park to get new pickleball courts, refurbished tennis courts
Kassandra Scott, 71, plays pickleball at Mandrake Park on the South Side.

Kassandra Scott, 71, plays pickleball at Mandrake Park on the South Side. Scott and other picklers who lament the lack of courts in Chicago will be able to play at courts planned for construction in Grant Park next spring.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Chicago’s pickleball scene is getting another shot in the arm — this time in Grant Park.

The folks behind Lollapalooza are donating $500,000 to the Chicago Park District that will be used to build new pickleball courts and refurbish existing tennis courts in the south end of Grant Park.

The pickleball courts will be designed for only pickleball use.

One of the major knocks from the city’s growing pickleball scene is that the city is lightyears behind other major cities in building dedicated courts. Most pickleball in Chicago is played on tennis courts, which can create tension between picklers and tennis players.

The news was shared Tuesday in a letter that was emailed to Grant Park-area residents from Charlie Walker, an executive with C3 Presents, the company behind Lollapalooza.

A Park District spokeswoman said six existing tennis courts will be rehabbed and a minimum of eight new dedicated pickleball courts will be built.

Leslie Recht, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, said the pickleball courts are to be built adjacent to the tennis courts.

The spot is just west of Columbus Drive and about a block south of Balbo Drive.

“Lollapalooza said they were going to step up and make a contribution which we believe is very helpful,” Recht said. “We’re very grateful. We think this is a big step forward.”

Recht said her group had raised $45,000 for the project but coming up with additional money had been a challenge.

Jim Wales, who heads the advisory council’s fundraising committee, said he expected as many as 16 new pickleball courts.

Lollapalooza, which uses the tennis courts for vehicle parking, causing wear and tear, initially offered a much smaller sum of $100,000 for the project.

“We will do our part to ensure the renovated courts remain in good condition,” Walker said in the letter to Grant Park-area residents.

Recht said the Park District hoped to start the project in the spring.

The news comes on the heels of a major pickle announcement in September. The Park District, citing pickleball mania, announced plans to add at least 50 pickleball courts across its park system over the next three years.

The Latest
Three others, including a 12-year-old girl, were wounded in the shooting, Oak Forest police said.
Poles has the Nos. 1 and 9 picks, and then it’s time to test the sturdiness of his construction.
The Bears weren’t blindsided by the trade of Justin Fields to the Steelers last month. But that didn’t make it any easier.
By pure circumstance, USC quarterback Caleb Williams was on the same flight to Detroit on Tuesday as Washington receiver Rome Odunze. Time will tell whether they’re on the same flight out of Detroit — and to Chicago — on Friday morning.
The Bears have been studying quarterbacks for months as they look to turn their offense around.