Pickleball courts

The Willow District’s Alta Vista Park has welcomed pickleball courts to its amenities.

One of the park’s tennis courts was turned into two lit pickleball courts. The other tennis court will remain. 

This improvement plan was pushed by Vice Mayor Jon Edwards and city staff. Edwards said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, locals have been using park amenities frequently. 

“Residents are really staying home and using more of the amenities that the city has to offer,” Edwards said. “Parks for me are a phenomenal city asset. They are the hub of communities.”

Renovations included repairing and refilling surface cracks throughout the courts, restriping two pickleball courts next to the existing tennis court, installing four net sleeves and posts for the pickleball courts, and installing a fence between the two pickleball courts. 

Each of the new courts is 44 feet long by 20 feet wide, the standard size for pickleball courts. 

Along with the court repairs, crews upgraded the landscaping, drainage channel, playground, dog park and benches, table and trash receptacles. 

The city’s parks and recreation department generally plans updates through a 10-year capital improvement program. The renovations to each park depend on the needs of the park and the area. 

“We are always looking at new and innovative ways to make our parks as user friendly and as accessible as possible,” Edwards said. 

Edwards said emails and calls from residents led him to make the pickleball courts a priority.  

“With the popularity of pickleball and the lack of amenities across the region, it’s become more of a need,” Edwards said. “As Alta Vista Park was getting a facelift, I had reached out to staff and asked is it a possibility that while we’re doing the facelift that we could also include repurposing one of the tennis courts into a pickleball facility?” 

Nearby Liberty Park has two lighted pickleball courts, which Edwards said have long wait times. 

The cost of the courts was $10,000 before updates were made. The courts will be available to use on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The installation at Alta Vista Park is part of a pilot program that if successful could bring more pickleball courts to Peoria parks. 

“We are going to see after it is done, within the next six months, how the popularity goes, learn from what worked and didn’t work, and then if it’s something that is manageable, possibly look at doing it at other city parks if it is warranted,” Edwards said.