The HF Park District plans to build tennis courts at Highlands Park to replace the courts removed for the Heather Hill detention basin. (Chris Weber/H-F Chronicle)
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Flossmoor and H-F Park District continue planning for Heather Hill stormwater project 

Discussions about drainage improvements continue as officials from the Village of Flossmoor and the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District engage with the community on plans to address the village’s stormwater issues and replace recreational facilities displaced by the plan.

Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson recently announced on social media that the village is considering alternatives to the original stormwater management plans to alleviate long-standing flooding issues near the Flossmoor Road viaduct and along Berry Lane. 

Nelson mentioned that she has instructed village staff to explore potentially feasible alternatives due to mixed community feedback on the proposed detention basin. She plans to bring these alternatives to the village board meeting on May 6 for further discussion. The agenda and staff report will be available on the village’s website by Friday, May 3.

The HF Park District plans to build tennis courts at Highlands Park to replace the courts removed for the Heather Hill detention basin. (Chris Weber/H-F Chronicle)
The HF Park District plans to build tennis courts at Highlands Park to replace the courts removed for the Heather Hill detention basin.
(Chris Weber/H-F Chronicle)

As initially planned, the detention basin will temporarily hold rainwater from large storms on land surrounding Heather Hill Elementary School. The plot includes a  Homewood-Flossmoor Park District tennis court. The park district was quick to agree to the village’s plan. After a long debate, the Flossmoor School District 161 school board voted to approve the plan and provide an easement to the town at an April 8 meeting.

The park district held a community meeting on April 30 to discuss relocating the tennis courts. Most of the 15 residents in attendance hoped the village would find a better solution. 

As a replacement plan for tennis players and pickleballers in the Heather Hill neighborhood, the park district has proposed building a new tennis court and two new pickleball courts on the south side of Highlands Park. A short distance south of the Heather Hill school, Highlands has a walking path, playgrounds and two softball fields. While the new amenities at this location would accommodate some neighborhood residents, they would also slightly reduce the size of one of the park’s softball fields.

Several residents voiced concerns about adding tennis courts to the park. Some said the softball fields hadn’t been used regularly for a decade, while others said new tennis courts would be a draw for the neighborhood.

“Whenever we build into a park or add a new asset, we try to go to the community and get their input,” HF Park District Executive Director Doug Boehm said. “The fields aren’t used for games on a consistent basis. They’re more for practices.”

Boehm said he had been in contact with Flossmoor Baseball and that the most logical plan was to add the tennis and pickleball courts to the southwest corner of the park property. He said the park district’s plan would leave one softball field untouched and the other with plenty of practice space.

In addition to answering questions and hearing concerns, the park district’s meeting sought community input on the design and features of changes at Highlands Park. Among other requests, pickleball players at the meeting asked for windscreens or dividers on the new pickleball courts. The HF Park District will continue seeking input from community members on their part of the plan as they wait for the village to make a final decision.

If the village moves forward with the original plan to construct the detention basin behind Heather Hill School, Boehm said the park district hopes to move forward with a plan to begin building the new courts as soon as possible. Construction could start in the fall. 

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