Project FAQs

What is Padel?

Padel’s appeal lies in its accessibility to players of all skill levels, offering a balance of simplicity and strategic depth. Played on a glassed-in court—smaller than a tennis court—with solid paddles and depressurized balls, Padel fosters engaging rallies and social interactions, making it an ideal choice for recreational enthusiasts. Padel is typically played in doubles, which makes it a social sport and allows players to work together and strategize during the game.

Originating in Mexico in the 1960s, Padel’s presence in the US began in the 1990s, with Florida being among the first states to adopt the sport. In recent years, Padel has gained traction across several states, thanks to the efforts of organizations like the United States Padel Association (USPA) and the American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) in promoting the sport and constructing new courts.

What is Pickleball?

Despite its funny name, Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America and is catching on worldwide. It’s played by millions of people of all ages and skill levels.

Pickleball is best described as a combination of badminton, ping-pong and tennis. You can play indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a net similar to a tennis net. Players use a paddle that is reminiscent of ping-pong paddles, but is bigger and usually made of more advanced materials. The ball used is very similar to a plastic whiffle ball with holes covering the surface. Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, just like tennis.

When will construction begin?

Construction is anticipated to begin summer 2024.

When will the current dome be taken down?

Summer 2024

Where will youth sports and practices that use the dome in the winter months be relocated to?

The District is finding alternative space for those Park District programs. 

Why is the use of the dome changing?

The agreement with the current grantee ends in April. In August, the Park District of Highland Park sought proposals for grantees to operate the dome, and the current grantee chose not to submit a proposal to renew their term.

The Park Board accepted a proposal for an indoor pickleball and padel facility in January 2024.  Indoor pickleball courts are in high demand, and the new dome will expand the District’s recreational offerings to meet the diverse needs of the Highland Park community.

Will the Golf Learning Center, River’s Edge Mini Golf, and the Seasonal Dog Park remain?

Yes, the dome will remain within the same footprint. During construction, the Golf Learning Center and River’s Edge Mini Golf will remain open.

Will the new dome be bigger than the current dome?

No, the new dome will remain within the same footprint.

Will the new dome have the same operation season?

The current dome is open 3 seasons out of the year, the new facility will be open year-round.

Dome Replacement Project

The existing site is a collaboration between the City of Highland Park and the Park District of Highland Park.  Consistent with the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, the City owns the land, and the Park District manages all operations at the site through a 99-year Lease Agreement. The current Dome is owned by a third-party (Grantee) who is permitted to rent space for indoor recreation uses such as soccer, lacrosse, and other similar sports consistent with the terms of a Concession and Site Agreement (Dome Agreement). This Agreement was initiated in 2009 and has since been extended several times. The final term for the Agreement expired in April 2024.

In August 2023, the Park District released a request for proposals for a new long-term agreement that would meet the needs of the community.  The Park District did not receive a proposal from the current Grantee but did receive three alternative proposals. In January 2024, after an extensive review process, the Park District enthusiastically accepted a proposal from Highland Park native Ronald Saslow for an indoor pickleball and padel facility. Mr. Saslow is contributing a major portion of the funding for the new facility, which will now be a year-round paddle facility.    

The goal is to open this new paddle facility during the winter of 2024-2025. It’s an ambitious timeline: purchase the dome and have the installation completed by November. The cost for both materials and installation of the air supported structure (dome) is roughly $1.4M. Construction of the court surface; the interior furniture, fixtures, and amenities; and adding utility services for sewer, water, and electric, will bring the total to roughly $4.2M. While a significant portion is covered by the generous donation from Mr. Saslow, the Parks Foundation of Highland Park is actively seeking donations and sponsorships to raise $600,000 to make the new indoor paddle facility a reality.  

Preliminary Study Results

Why are we here?

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This project is rooted in the Park District’s GreenPrint Master Plan which supports addressing the aging West Ridge Building. The GreenPrint Update confirmed the recommendation and highlighted the need for multi-use space to be flexible to better serve the community. Holabird and Root modeled three different schemes through the preliminary planning study. The scheme to build new is recommended as the most cost-effective scheme to achieve the goals of the Park District within the project budget.

Project FAQs

How can I get involved?

There will be various community meetings along the way. Meetings and information will be posted here.

How will programs be impacted?

The Park District will endeavor to have minimal impact on programs.

Is gymnastics going to be relocated to West Ridge Park?

The Park District is exploring the opportunity to relocate the gymnastics program that is currently housed at Centennial Ice Arena to the new building at West Ridge Park. A new building offers the opportunity to construct a gym that will have the capacity to meet the demands of the program.

What does the building look like?

The Park District started the first phase of the design process, schematic design, in August 2023, renderings of the proposed building will be shared with the community for comment once available.

What is going to happen to West Ridge Center.

The plan is to construct a new community center on the southeast side of West Ridge Park. Once that building is constructed, the existing West Ridge Center will be demolished.

What was the preliminary planning assessment completed in 2022?

In early 2022, the Park District hired architectural firm Holabird and Root to study West Ridge Center recognizing the need to meet growing demands for updated facilities, services, and programs for the community. The firm’s tasks included building and site visioning, site analysis, programming, planning, and preliminary design. Holabird and Root studied three options: renovation, hybrid: renovation and addition, and build new.  The study took a holistic approach to the entire site, including user group and community input, and working within a budget of approximately $15 million.   

The study’s results aimed to answer the critical question of whether to renovate or build new.  Renovation options were determined to be costly upfront, would not meet program needs, and would carry long-term costs for continued maintenance of an aging building. New construction stood out as the best option. A preliminary site evaluation recommends placing a new facility in the southeast portion of the park and demolishing the existing building once construction is complete.

When will the new building be built?

Construction is anticipated to begin fall 2024 and extend through the first part of 2026. Operations at West Ridge Center will continue through the construction. Athletics programs that currently use the fields at West Ridge Park will be relocated.

West Ridge Park Building and Site Planning

Project Background

In 2019 the Park District conducted a GreenPrint 2024 Review and Amendment, which expressed the need for a multi-purpose facility as well as the need to address West Ridge Center to provide flexible programming space to better serve the community with youth and adult programming, and an opportunity for a gymnastics studio.   

The Park District started the design process for a new community center at West Ridge Park to replace the existing West Ridge Center in 2022. The plan to build new on the southeast section of West Ridge Park is supported by a preliminary planning assessment completed in 2023.

This year, the Park District of Highland Park was awarded $1.4 million through the Park and Recreational Facilities Construction (PARC) grant program administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to support elements this project including a gymnastics gym, multi-functional dance room, and youth enrichment space. The PARC grant program provides funding for park and recreation facility construction projects.

Join the Conversation!

There will be various opportunities throughout the project to get involved.

Upcoming Community-Wide Meetings

The April Community Meeting has been postponed. Check back for upcoming meetings.

Preliminary Planning
Schematic Design
in progress



April 11, 2024

Park District staff shared a progress update at the April Facility and Recreation Committee meeting on April 10, 2024.

Park Board Commissioners provided feedback and requested additional information from the design consultants. They also asked to postpone the project’s community meetings until this information is provided.

April 11, 2024
March 18, 2024

In March 2024, the Park District of Highland Park began hosting internal stakeholder meetings to collect feedback to influence the schematic designs.

March 18, 2024
January 11, 2024

In January 2024, the Park District of Highland Park was awarded $1.4 million in PARC grant funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

January 11, 2024
June 15, 2023

The Park District of Highland Park submitted a grant application requesting $2.8 million from the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s Park and Recreational Facilities Construction (PARC) grant program to help fund the New Community Center at West Ridge Park.

June 15, 2023
May 7, 2023

On May 6, 2023, the Park District of Highland Park held a Community Open House to share preliminary concept plans with the community to collect cares and concerns about the proposed project.

May 7, 2023
June 14, 2022

In early 2022, Holabird and Root was hired by the Park District to study options (renovate or build new) for West Ridge Center.

In June, a Preliminary Planning Study was completed for West Ridge, recommending building a new facility on the southeast portion of West Ridge Park, and demolishing the existing building once construction is complete. See the results here.

June 14, 2022
Park Avenue South Boat Storage Lot Restoration

Project Updates

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Renovations

March 12, 2024

Construction is scheduled to begin on March 19, 2024

March 12, 2024
Heller Nature Center Trail Restoration Project

Project FAQs

Are any trees going to be removed?

No trees will be removed as part of this project.

Aside from the synthetic turf, what other drainage improvements are being made?

The synthetic turf field will drain to a naturalized area just beyond the right-field foul line. The design may also include expanding the existing naturalized area and enhancing the plantings to better manage any additional stormwater.  To impact the existing field as little as possible we have not added additional drainage improvements.

Can’t kids get hurt playing on an artificial field?

The overall safety of the synthetic turf is the predictability and consistency of play.  There are no bad hops or dips or holes that can cause injuries. 

Don’t artificial turf fields get hot?

Unlike black crumb rubber fill that absorbs the heat, the green color of the EPDM (ethylene propylene, diene monomer) infill will help reduce the heat.

How large is the planned turf field?

The Larry Fink Park baseball field renovation is planned to have approximately ½ of an acre of synthetic in-field turf. Comparatively, Lake Forest has about 10 acres.

How long will the new field last?

Synthetic turf has a lifespan of about 10 years.

Why do we need an artificial turf field?

Unfortunately, our fields are situated on floodplains and as they are currently designed are frequently unusable due to constant flooding.  This results in frequent game cancellations for teams who are sometimes unable to finish the season. It’s disappointing to the ballplayers, their families, the coaches, and fans.

Synthetic turf will solve that problem, adding more than three times the number of playing hours yearly and reducing the field’s maintenance costs by 50%. The average lifespan of the new turf will provide these benefits for ten years or more.

The new turf infield will significantly improve playability & recovery time after storms and add flexibility to serve multiple age groups. The new field will make Highland Park competitive with our North Shore neighbors. 

Will lighting be added?

Lighting will not be added at this time. The existing field lighting will remain.

Will this project be complete before baseball season?

The goal is to complete construction by the end of June 2024. Depending on the growing season needed to repair the grass once the turf is replaced, the field may or may not be used for part of the 2024 baseball season.


ethylene propylene, diene monomer

Are there any EPA or OSHA standards to consider?

No, EPDM (ethylene propylene, diene monomer) is not regulated or tracked by the EPA because it is not designated as harmful.

Are there any medical concerns known to be related to EPDM?

Because of its composition as a coated material, there is minimal risk of inhalation, ingestion, absorption, or migration.  EPDM is used in potable water applications, meaning EPDM seals are present in all municipal drinking water systems including faucets used inside the home.  

Doesn’t the fill pose major health risks?

The EPDM (ethylene propylene, diene monomer) fill used in the Fink baseball field is a non-toxic material that is recyclable and reuseable. 

Have there been any tests for chemical emissions from the fill materials? Who conducted the tests? What were the results?

Toxicology tests were done on EPDM (ethylene propylene, diene monomer) by an independent lab using the EPA Method 6010 standard – testing for the presence of heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and phthalates(fal-ates).   No harmful emissions were found.

What is the fill you plan to use at Fink?

The fill is EPDM (ethylene propylene, diene monomer), it is a non-toxic plastic rubber that is widely used in our everyday life from weather stripping, flooring to playground surfacing.   It is also recyclable and reusable and has high resistance to abrasion and wear. 

Won’t the fill end up in the river?

The project drainage has been approved by the City of Highland Park and the Lake County Stormwater Commission and meets all requirements.

Larry Fink Memorial Park Baseball Field Improvements

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Your donation will ensure we can bring this project to fruition. Learn more about our donation levels.



April 11, 2024

Construction is underway at Larry Fink Park.

April 11, 2024
March 20, 2024

The construction fence has been installed.

March 20, 2024
March 12, 2024

On Tuesday, March 12, the Park District of Highland Park celebrated the Jeff Fox Field Groundbreaking at Larry Fink Memorial Park with the Athletic Boosters.

March 12, 2024
December 1, 2023

At the December 2023 meeting, the Park Board of Commissioners approved the project for $1.02 million to modernize the existing baseball field at Larry Fink Park.

December 1, 2023
Moraine Beach Stairs