McKinley Park on April 5, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

MCKINLEY PARK — McKinley Park could soon get 10 pickleball courts at its namesake park, but some neighbors aren’t happy that tennis courts are being removed to make that happen.

The new courts are a part of the Chicago Park District’s citywide Pickleball Mania program, which aims to establish 50 pickleball courts across Chicago by 2025.

Ald. Julia Ramirez (12th), whose ward includes McKinley Park, said the Park District plans to bring 10 pickleball courts to the 37th Street courts at McKinley Park. These courts would replace three existing tennis courts, while the other three would be resurfaced, she said.

But some local tennis players brought concerns to Ramirez, saying the tennis courts are consistently being used and they don’t want to see three courts cut, she said. She said neighbors were also concerned about the pickleball noise on the 37th Street side, with so many homes nearby.

Ramirez said she supported an alternative proposal: to put the pickleball courts at the Western Avenue side of the park. She said Friday Park District officials told her office they would consider this change.

“I felt it was warranted to speak up on this issue,” Ramirez said. “I see the way they use the tennis courts. People are out here every day.”

Ramirez said she wasn’t sure about the timeline of the pickleball courts installation.

The Park District declined to comment on the matter.

The sport of pickleball — a hybrid of tennis, badminton and ping pong that’s accessible to people of all ages and skill levels — has taken off nationwide.

New courts through the Pickleball Mania program are being funded with pandemic relief money from the Chicago Recovery Plan, the Park District previously said.

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