Funded mainly through a $250,000 state grant, the improvements to the Ehlert Park tennis courts will include a new surface and striping for both tennis and pickleball. The adjacent basketball courts will also be resurfaced and reconfigured as two half-court play spaces. Both areas will be enclosed by new black vinyl coated fencing. | VILLAGE OF BROOKFIELD

A long-deferred project to improve the tennis courts at Ehlert Park in Brookfield is slated to break ground in mid-April, and its scope has expanded to also include renovating the adjacent basketball courts and upgrade the fencing.

On March 13, Brookfield village trustees awarded a $291,839 contract to West Chicago-based Evans & Son Blacktop Inc. to complete the work. Village officials were expected to join the contractor this week for a pre-construction meeting with work expected to begin April 17, according to Assistant Village Manager Stevie Ferrari.

Work is expected to be completed and the courts open to the public by the end of June.

Evans & Son was the lowest of four bids submitted to the village for the project and was 30% below the village engineering/design consultant’s estimated cost for the work, which was $417,548.

In addition to a lower-than-expected low bid, Brookfield was also informed in February that it had received an additional $50,000 in grant funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, bringing that total to $250,000, leaving Brookfield responsible for about $42,000 of the total cost of the project.

The scope of work includes completely resurfacing the four tennis courts and lining them for both tennis and pickleball. The courts will also be outfitted with new nets, benches and practice boards. New vinyl-coated fencing and new fencing screens will be erected around the tennis courts and basketball courts.

As for the basketball courts themselves, the existing asphalt courts will be removed and the sub-base will be regraded. A new full-depth surface will be installed, color-coated and striped for two half-court spaces instead of the compressed full courts that had been in place.

The project marks the first significant improvement for those play areas in decades. In the mid-1980s the village board decided against reconstructing the tennis courts and opted to cover them with artificial turf and sand to simulate a clay surface.

The basketball courts also have not been improved since they were first built, according to a memo from Ferrari to the village board for their March 13 meeting. The basketball courts were built in 1998 as part of a $2.5 million effort to improve areas of Ehlert and Candy Cane parks in Brookfield.

According to the July 9, 1998 Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, the improvements at Ehlert Park also including installing a fence around the tennis courts.

Last June, after being informed that the state of Illinois finally would be releasing the grant funding it had promised for the project back in 2019, the Brookfield Village Board gave its consultant Hitchcock Design Group the go-ahead to design the improvements to the tennis courts and directed them to include the basketball court renovation and fencing upgrades as alternate bid items.

While the work had been budgeted for completion in 2022, with the village experiencing higher-than-usual construction costs and shipping delays in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, local officials decided to defer the project until 2023.