Proposal to install lights at River Forest tennis club draws criticism

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

If the River Forest Tennis Club continues to push forward a proposal to install light poles on three of its tennis courts this spring, surrounding residents would like the club to know they are done being good neighbors.

The proposal was met with much frustration during the first public hearing at Roosevelt Middle School on the evening of Dec. 19.

Club President Dan Arends said the idea for the lights came up because staff wanted club members to be able to get more use out of the club, which has been undergoing upgrades over the last 15 years. The upgrades have increased member rates, Arends said. The 107-year-old club, which currently has 225 members, has $100,000 budgeted for the lights.

If they are installed, the club could stay open from roughly April 15 to Oct. 15, said architect Mark Zinni. Arends said extending the hours until 9:30 p.m. would allow members to play after work, which they can't do now. The club is currently open from the beginning of May through September.

Zinni showed results of a study conducted to determine the amount of light spillage using foot candles as the unit of measurement. One foot candle is the amount of light from one candle one foot away. Zinni said renderings of the 12 proposed 26-foot poles with one or two fixtures each showed there would be between zero and half a foot candle of light

But according to several residents, the lights would only benefit the members of what they said was an exclusive and private club, and not the community at large. It would create light pollution and more noise and traffic at night for the neighbors.

Gina Voci, who lives in the 600 block of Lathrop Avenue across from the club, said she has seen club members litter her lawn with cigarette butts and beer bottles and allow their children to walk through her front and back yards. She has found her car blocked in her driveway by other cars that belong to club-goers. Lights from their cars shine straight into her porch and living room. Voci said she even saw someone urinating on her garden after a party at the club.

Other neighbors said the club has refused to shovel their sidewalks in a timely manner, and were concerned property values might be impacted.

Voci said she has never contacted the club or the police to report these incidents. But if lights are installed, "you will find yourselves in a hostile environment of your own making," she said as part of a prepared statement, which drew applause from the crowd.

Voci also questioned why two club members who also sit on the Development Review Board did not recuse themselves from a Nov. 15 vote on the matter. The review board voted to waive a traffic study, economic analysis and drainage plan from their application to install the lights. Assistant Village Administrator Mike Braiman said the club will still be required to submit documents detailing the impact the lights will have on neighboring properties.

Arends said Thursday that he and Vice President Ed Sloan want to compile the information from the meeting and discuss further with the neighbors how they can address concerns. He said they want to have another meeting in the future. When asked if the club will still move forward with the light installation after the meeting, Arends said "we honestly don't know right now."

The Development Review Board is scheduled to discuss the matter at their Jan. 17 meeting.

Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

John Griffin  

Posted: January 8th, 2013 5:33 PM

Unlike others here, I have included my real name. I am a member of the DRB and have recused myself from this approval process because I am an Active RFTC member and a recent past president who votes on capital improvements. I believe the club has taken extensive steps to see that the lights will not impact the neighbors in terms of traffic, light spillage or noise. Tennis is a quiet game and 3 lighted courts means that 12 people max will use the courts for an extra hour or 2 a day in the summer.

RF Achievement  

Posted: January 7th, 2013 9:07 PM

@John - as a member of the planning or DRB group you should know better than to give out variances for a private application. These same variances were NOT given to the park district - and this should be common practice. You are supposed to be on the side of all villagers - not just the Club. The applicant has to prove this is safe, needed and will not harm RE values. You are a member of this club and former president. You need to not participate or vote - as you are not independent.

John Griffin  

Posted: January 7th, 2013 4:21 PM

A few points to rebut the many unfounded complaints. The low pole/profile lights proposed will cause virtually zero spillage to any neighbors. This only asks for 3 courts with each one only turned on when used. This will have zero impact on traffic or property values. The club uses the loudspeaker system far less today than ever. The club hosts the same number of dinners, swim meets and holiday events as it always has. Membership is almost entirely made up of RF & OP residents who run the club.

James from River Forest  

Posted: January 6th, 2013 1:57 PM

With 85 comments, this has been a news story of great interest in River Forest. Mr. Gibbs and Ms. Adducci, one of you will be the next Village President. Please publically state your position on this issue, so that we voters can better understand how you will vote on controversial issues in the future. We are looking for a leader for the future of River Forest. Show us.

Response to Cathy Adducci  

Posted: January 5th, 2013 12:52 PM

Ms. Adducci: the question is whether any of the negative comments you decry are accurate. You have a record and associations that should be closely explored as River Forest's reputation could be in play in this election. Quit complaining and explain why your background is a positive; but you are going to have to discuss it in detail whether you want to or not. Gibbs isn't complaining - why are you?

Gina from RF  

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 3:12 PM

Facts: of 225 club members, 28 have voted in favor of the lights so far. There are 12,000 residents in RF. 28 apparently don't want to use the lighted public courts at Keystone Park (5 blocks from the club) but club directors want to fast track the permit to have club lights installed by summer. The neighbors don't fear change (we are used to it) but irrevocably changing the neighborhood without considering possible negative impact, just to satisfy 28 eager residents, is premature and wrong.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: January 2nd, 2013 5:39 PM

@Does it matter: Really? There were a few negative / non-civil comments made, but overall this has been a pretty good discussion. Residents have asked questions and gotten answers... there should be no one asking when / if the lights at the RFTC were discussed... not too bad. I'm grateful for the questions that have been asked and the answers that have been given - even though there is still more to learn.

Does it matter where I live? from Oak Park  

Posted: January 2nd, 2013 5:33 PM

Wow. Just wow. OP and RF residents fighting over lights, pools, kids, clubs, pograms. We're both privileged communities and, apparently, we're filled with people so thin-skinned we can't even discuss everyday issues sensibly. "Where are you from, Oak Park?" writes one resident of River Forest. I guess that's a slur, but ironically, reflects only on the one who left the comment.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: January 2nd, 2013 5:18 PM

@muntz: which is why there are public hearings and review standards such as traffic studies so that the impact of the change is understood by ALL residents who care. None of these standard reviews should be skipped.


Posted: January 2nd, 2013 4:32 PM

Caveat emptor. When you purchase a home across the street from an empty lot, stadium, club, athletic field, do not expect the property to remain stagnant. The only guarantee in real estate is change. The ranch house next door can be rebuilt as a 3 story home ruining your view/sunlight. Empty lots turn into highrises and do the same.No lights today does not mean no lights tomorrow (ask Wrigleyville residents). This is an inherent risk these homeowners should have taken into account upon purchase.

Paul from RF  

Posted: January 2nd, 2013 2:53 PM

@OP resident #545: many of the homes near the club predate it! My friend's home (across the street from the club) was built in 1892; the club wasn't built until 1906. Neither my friend nor any of the club members are original owners of these properties so if "which property was here first?" is a consideration in the debate, the neighbors win!

Gina from RF  

Posted: January 2nd, 2013 2:16 PM

The members own the property. The club is not tax exempt.

questions? from RF  

Posted: January 1st, 2013 5:22 PM

Who owns the RFTC property? From what I have heard and understand, the RFTC property is not owned by the club or its members. They lease the land from the First Presbyterian Church though a long term lease deal. So, if this is true, a good question to ask River Forest Trustee's or DRB members might be, why are they dealing with a tenant instead of directly with the owner of the property? Or, if the RFTC does own the property, why/how/do they have a tax exempt status?

Paul from RF  

Posted: January 1st, 2013 4:00 PM

Some of you seem to think that "private property" means you can build whatever you want. Not true -- that's why PERMITS need to be issued first. And permits should not be issued without impact studies. And impact studies shouldn't be conducted by RFTC members OR their affiliates.

Cathy Adduci from River Forest  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 4:45 PM

I am commenting because a friend alerted me to the negative comments made about myself and Mike. I strongly encourage residents to speak their mind on issues that are important, BUT I am confident we can do so without the harsh personal attacks made on the person and/or their family. Thank you for your consideration. I would like to wish our entire community a safe and happy new year!

RFTC No Lights  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 4:14 PM

Yes Gibbs is behind this lights application. He wanted to do it earlier likely, but due to the home rule fight, he was told to back off until after tjhe outcome was known. When outcome was known, it was full steam ahead. I get the application - however what is total brazen is the asking of the DRB (with RFTC members on the DRB) to DROP the traffic study and economic analysis....and they agree?

RF Achievement 2  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 4:05 PM

@ Denise - Concordia tried, and was turned down by the Village. Dominican currently has an application in with the DRB for Lights for their stadium - again, not for the public but for the benifit of the school.

RF Achievement 2  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 2:06 PM

I agree let's stick to the issue. Is Mike Gibbs behind the lights at RFTC as Chair of grounds? Do you really care about our community and the affect lights will have on our neighborhood. You led "light the stadium" and now "light the Club" while not living near here and knowing the impact. Stop Mike Gibbs!

Denise from RF  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 12:31 PM

All RF residents have a stake in this issue. If RFTC gets its permits pushed through, it paves the way for other private entities to do the same. Lighted fields at Dominican? Concordia?

Paul from River Forest  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 11:49 AM

@ OP Resident #545. You imply that it's selfish for surrounding neighbors of RFTC to want limited hours of operation at the club (which is the real basis of the lights argument). Seems more selfish that 225 exclusive families want to serve their own needs regardless of the surrounding neighborhood. Just sayin' . . .

RF Achievement  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 10:39 AM

To all: Happy New year. Keep on subject - and this thread is NOT about the election. Lights at the Tennis club. Thanks

Wake Up  

Posted: December 31st, 2012 10:09 AM

Mike Gibbs is not the issue. Just wait until Cathy Adducci (and her Springfield friends?) are in positions of influence in River Forest. Hopefully John Kass ignores us or only writes only a few negative articles because we already have reputation issues we are trying to leave in the past as a Village.

Lauren from River Forest  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 11:56 PM

Rumor of a tax break? Could be because the club pays $94,000 a year in property taxes, which sounds like a lot, but ten houses on that property would yield at least twice that amount! (Are their tax assessments going up with all these improvements?) As for blackballing, they can and do deny membership as they wish, but that is their right as a private club.

Gina Voci response to Bono Voce from River Forest  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 11:10 PM

We did research the club before moving here. It was family oriented, no alcohol allowed, open 4 months of the year, closed at night except for a few weekend family events. In 18 years much has changed: bigger pool w/ lights & loud speakers, more parties, alcohol served, lots of loud party-goers slamming car doors. The club keeps encroaching on the peace & quiet of the neighborhood. Lights mean longer hours, more activity, light pollution, possibly lower property values. Why would we want this?

Aron from OP  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 8:12 PM

Lights at OPRF are right. They are helping the entire community. The schools and the parks are govermental entities we can have a say in with our vote. These folks are acting as it they did not have a say. There were so many public hearings.


Posted: December 30th, 2012 7:09 PM

@Questions.....answered. Alright, I'm an OP rez, but I'll try and answer your 2 questions. 1.) Prop Tax assessments are the exclusive domain of the County Assessor - therefore your "rumor" is no better than a lie. 2.) I'm doubling over in laughter over this question. In case you didn't notice, RF is a VERY exclusive community to live in. Period. Sure, there is no "blackball policy," but, in case you didn't notice, you have to be fairly wealthy to "join" this "club" of River Forest! Satisfied?

RF Achievement Gap from River Forest  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 5:34 PM

Mike Gibbs lead the charge for "light the stadium" for OPRF with no regards to the Oak Park community. Now he is leading the charge for "light the Tennis Club" as the Chair of Grounds with no regards to River Forest residents who live near the shame Mike!


Posted: December 30th, 2012 4:20 PM

Good debate. How it appears is the benefit to be obtained here is NOT for the Greater Good of the Community. It is for the Greater Good of a few hundred. To me this is why some were trying to get a pass on traffic study and economic analysis - so the impact to the surrounding neighbors could be skipped. Someone else said a few on the Village Board are trying to short cut the process. In OPRF, they went through every phase and had lots of public hearings.

Keep Election Ought  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 4:16 PM

The personal attacks on Mike Gibbs are because he is running for Village President not because of his position on the lights. If we are going to inject the election into this in fairness we ought to scrutinize his opponent whose background ought to give residents pause. RF is just getting over being known as mob town. We don't need to risk being known as Little Springfield instead.

Ed from River Forest  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 12:35 PM

We living near the RFTC knew about the school, library, churches and park, which are open to all, and about the private and exclusive RFTC--that from sun up to sun down there would be tennis balls popping, car doors slamming, banter, traffic, etc. We also knew that, after a long day of work and school, we had the serenity of evening darkness when kids go to bed, we chat on porches, open windows, savor the silence and gaze at what's left of the night sky: precious time we refuse to surrender.

Joan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 9:36 AM

Dear RF Homeowner,The OPRF lights debate was very much about traffic and congestion (we have HS and youth football,etc. traffic from 7 am-6 pm already, and lots on weekends too),not just the physical lights.And paying for extra police on Friday nights, and coaches to work late practices, as the HS now has to, also affects taxes,which we pointed out too. If you were in favor of the HS lights then, I ask that you please don't be hypocritical about RFTC now, just because it is in your neighborhood

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 9:15 AM

@Oak Parkers who are angry about living near a high school please note that the substantive questions here are not about the lights but about traffic, taxes, and village breaks given the club. Please take the OPRF lights anger elsewhere.

Right back at you from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2012 9:08 AM

Where can I get my bumper sticker in favor of the lights? Let's light up both Villages so everyone can get a taste of what you all gave those of us who live next to OPRG a few years ago.

Gina from River forest  

Posted: December 29th, 2012 8:28 PM

Response to Ty: just in case you aren't aiming for irony, we were told by Mr. Arends that the club is "staffed" by it's own members, who share the responsibilities of maintaining the clubhouse, grounds etc . . .so "staff" = members.

Tom from RF  

Posted: December 29th, 2012 6:33 PM

RFCC should not get any special treatment - period. They must go through the same process as all developments in town. The DRB and village Board need to follow the EXACT process that was used for the RFPD. They must prove how this will be a benfit to all the taxpayers, how it will not negatively impact property values, and they must show that there are/will be NO traffic/safety issues. Need the OP light consultant the village hired to look at the entire application. Lets stay Transparent

Questions that should be answered  

Posted: December 29th, 2012 2:40 PM

2 Questions that must be answered: 1) long-time rumor in town is that the club gets a partial property tax break - true?; 2) does the club have a blackball admissions policy (which could serve to conceal the true basis for denials like race, religion etc. - meaning one or a couple people could conceviably deny you without good basis)? Before the town gives them special treatment we need to know answers to both questions.

hog OR pig from River Forest  

Posted: December 29th, 2012 11:57 AM

Is Anderson Elevators a hog or pig? Why are they forcing condo owners to upgrade their elevators? How much more do we need to spend?

interesting from river forest  

Posted: December 29th, 2012 11:05 AM

Interesting.....what comes after lights maybe a second floor to the club so that the Gibbs Family aka Anderson Elevators can install more elevators. Did you know that the Gibbs Family is behind forcing condo owners to upgrade our elevators so they can make more money! Is not Gibbs the grounds chairperson at the club?Is Gibbs behind the lights like he was at OPRF?

RF Achievement  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 8:38 PM

@funny guy - The DRB Chairman, Frank Martin, who approved the variance on no traffic or economic study needed for the lights - is a member of the RF Tennis Club. How is that for transparency! Thinking he should step down - as this is a total conflict.

Response to Ty  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 4:50 PM

Ty, If your comment is irony, cool. If not, "you the fool"? That's urban lingo for you white-clad members of the "club." Plenty of irony in RF though. Would the DRB pave the way if I wanted to light my backyard? What is the Village's share of the club's paltry property taxes - $10k maybe, for all those parking problems, tying up the DRB, etc. BIG QUESTION: how does their admission policy work? Seems like we ought to know exactly how so we don't unintentionally support discrimination.

Ty Webb  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 4:27 PM

"Club President Dan Arends said the idea for the lights came up because staff wanted club members to be able to get more use out of the club." Don't blame the Club president or its members, it's the staff! The staff wants the lights, not the members and they are just hoping to work a few extra hours to support their families. Are you against the working man?

Funny Guy  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 3:37 PM

If I had one last wish it would be for the Tennis Club to hire Al Ronan as its lobbyist.

Gina from River Forest  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 3:03 PM

I was at the meeting. The permit is explicitly for 6 courts, not 3 (they will light 3 immediately & 3 later). Further, it extends hours to 9:30 at night, 7 days a week for 6 months of the year (currently open 4 months). Also, when asked about possible tournaments, club leaders would not guarantee there would be no tournaments. (Neighbors already have to listen to blaring loud speakers during club swim meets.) 12 cars a night? Try 24: with mixed doubles on 6 courts, & even more with a tournament

Tom from RF  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 1:24 PM

Issue is process and fairness. For the RFPD, the village went out of its way to make the light applications the MOST diffulcult possible (and this was for the good of EVERY citizen in RF). There was NO waiver of any requirements - and traffic and economic impact are two of the most important in the app. If the application is going to be reviewed, it must be done with complete openess and transparency. The DRB must reverse course, and require full Traffic and Economic Study.


Posted: December 28th, 2012 11:57 AM

If the lights are on the Quick/Lathrop side, won't the Presbyterian Church get the brunt of any lighting? How strong are these lights? It seems like it would be much less invasive if the lights go on the courts at Quick/Lathrop. Not perfect, but if you park in the lot, that leaves Oak open, and as a few mentioned, this will only be 12 people at a time max. I think you get more traffic if you live off Harlem or Chicago.

Greg from RF  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 9:56 AM

@95%...can you please wake up and get off the pool thing. There is no money and the schools keep raising taxes. Concordia and Dominican closed their pools. No one will support a $10M bond issue in these times plus the upkeep. Get real. If you want a pool spend the $40K and get one.

the 95%  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 9:40 AM

No Special Zoning Breaks for the Privileged 5% until the 95% have a municipal pool. We pay the highest rate of any rich Cook County town and we are the only one with no pool. Why? Highest tax rate, lowest service. Are we indirectly subsidizing the private admission club social scene here in RF? How do the children of the 95% feel when they drive through the middle of their home town passing the club and their parents tell them you can't swim in your home town because we can't afford it?

Rf resident from River forest  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 7:58 AM

I do think our village officials should recuse themselves from voting if they have a vested interest in the outcome. The way I see this will be shown on my ballot in the April election.

Not the same thing  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 1:01 AM

Lights at OPRF and lights at RFTC are like apples and oranges. Ones lit maybe 5 to 6 times a season plus a few practices. RFTC would be on every night of the week for how long??

Bono Voce from River Forest  

Posted: December 28th, 2012 12:34 AM

95%. Don't talk to me about hypotheticals...I am a parent with a special needs child. One who can & does regularly swim in OP or FP through the WSSRA. Kids of all types who live in RF have pool options over & above RFTC. RF doesn't need to build a pool. OP & FP have much larger populations, therefore much larger tax bases, median incomes not withstanding. Again, stop using kids, especially those w/special needs, as shields for your own ignorance.


Posted: December 27th, 2012 9:44 PM

3 courts only will be lit for a couple of hours and a few months with directed down light and no spillage. My neighbor across the alley put up a 2 story 3 car garage this summer that has 4 flood lights lit up every night from sundown to sun up. It's nice of them to light up our whole ally but we hate the light shinning in our bedroom windows and into our eyes. Private property can do what they want.

Lauren from RF from River forest  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 8:06 PM

OPRFHS serves the public; families living near it, though inconvenienced, know that their families and the entire community benefit from this public accomodation (the lighted stadium). The privately owned tennis club serves only 225 families of the thousands of families living in RF and denies and limits membership as it sees fit. The RF community recieves no benefit from the club or its proposed lights. Why should the quality/character of the neighborhood be sacrificed for a pviledged few?


Posted: December 27th, 2012 5:32 PM

Bono: River Forest, one of the richest towns in Cook County, with one of the highest tax rates of all Cook County rich towns can't afford a pool. Really? But, Forest Park, Oak Park etc. can afford them? A hypothetical question: If you were a special needs kid(s) whose parents can't afford the club or applied but not admitted, how would you feel every time you drove by the Tennis Club? Yes, these are KIDS we are talking about Mr. Bono. KIDS who can't swim in their own town.

Bono Voce from River Forest  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 4:31 PM

Oh, Ms 95%...yes, Maywood has a pool, however they closed it down because they can't afford to operate it safely. That's why the subcontracted with the OP YMCA to be a part time manager. Public pools are very expensive to operate and maintain. If RFTC & their members can afford it, why does that offend you?? Go to Oak Park & donate some pool passes to "the kids" if you want to feel better about yourself.

Bono Voce from River Forest  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 3:03 PM

RF doesn't need a muni pool. We have residency rates at OP & FP pools. If we asked, I'm certain Maywood/WCYMCA would let our residents swim as well. A muni pool would cost $ 4-5 M, & be used 3-4 mos/year. A bad use of our tax dollars. Quit using "the kids" as a shield for your hatred of those who play tennis or choose private clubs.

95% of the kids have no pool  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 2:42 PM

If we had a municipal pool for ALL the children in the Village, would the tennis club be able to stay in business? Is this a reason why we don't have a pool for ALL the kids, but only for the privileged and acceptable 5%. Why are our taxes so high without a pool? Maywood has a pool so don't tell me we can't afford it. From this perspective, the tennis club indeed imposes a huge burden on our town manifested mostly in 95% of the children having no pool in which to swim. Shame on River Forest.

Bono Voce from River Forest  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 2:33 PM

Wow...DWAnderson, you're really not as smart as you want us to think you are. And no, it's not for ALL the Children. It's a private club...where are you from, Oak Park??


Posted: December 27th, 2012 2:22 PM

@ RF Resident- yep 3 courts, 1st line in the above article.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 2:10 PM

@Anne. Thanks for the clarification on parking capacity at RFTC The lighting is only planned for three courts? Sure would be nice if the Village would address the parking and traffic issues during the summer season.


Posted: December 27th, 2012 1:36 PM

My mistake, parking lot holds 30+ cars. When it's dark and the lit courts are being used, they are the ONLY courts (3) being used. So in Sept, Oct April and May, when the club is not officially open ie no pool, or staff around, the lot is almost empty.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 1:26 PM

@Club Taxes: hmmm. not too solid a point. Should we keep all police and fire services away from RFTC when it is closed? And if I don't live in my house for a few months each year can I prorate my taxes? I think the club should be paying "market rate" on the property they use, just as I do. Year round.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 1:25 PM

@Anne -- that's a good point. However it will be more than 20 cars because very few of the 24 players will walk to the club and there is overhead workers too... but I would stick with that for the parking argument. That's a good observation.


Posted: December 27th, 2012 1:10 PM

3 courts are getting lights on the Quick St. side. That is a max of 12 people playing at night where otherwise no one would be at the club. They park in the parking lot that holds over 20+ cars so you see, the only issue is the light spillage that seems to be nil.

Joan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 12:42 PM

Gee...I wonder how many of those same RFTC neighbors were gung ho about the OPRF stadium lights? And told us HS neighbors that we should move if we don't like them? And we should have anticipated this when we bought homes here ? I myself don't care if RFTC gets lights or not, but I hope THOSE neighbors who supported the HS lights are quiet now ! Hopefully, they recall that we HS neighbors warned that installing lights at the HS would open the door to more light towers in the community....

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 12:24 PM

I agree that a private club is just that-- private. They can make whatever rules they choose and I get to choose to not join the club. My primary concern is that they are contributing monetarily with no breaks to the village upkeep AND that the rest of the villagers are not burdened by their existence. That burden in terms of traffic congestion and parking has been here forever, but that does not mean we should continue to tolerate it -- especially if they are asking to extend this burden.

Club Taxes  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 11:27 AM

I'm not sure why we would look at the taxes at the RFTC as we would a single family home. No one lives there and it is closed for 5 to 6 month's every year.

Greg from RF  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 11:20 AM

your private home. The community should focus its comments on the lights and the impact they may or may not make. I for one think it is OK but maybe require the club to provide an employee to manage cars on busy nights that would clean up the area and prevent any disturbances. Other than that the community has no right to tell a private club what to do.

Greg from RF  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 11:15 AM

The comments on this page concern me. This is a private club which the community only has the right to enforce zoning laws and building permits. Lights or no lights is the only question before us for a club that has been around for 100 years. Traffic occurs at schools, soccer fields, Jewel, Churches and block parties. We live in a neighborhood designed for less cars so I am sure there will be impact especially on weekend nights. The RFTC is a private not-for-profit entity just like

DWAnderson from River Forest, IL  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 11:11 AM

I am indifferent to the presence of lights at RFTC, but am amused to see such a concentration of arguments based on the Pigouvian fallacy. It's been over 50 years, and a nobel prize, since The Problem of Social Cost was published, but it seems not to have penetrated the Zeitgeist. See


Posted: December 27th, 2012 11:11 AM

The additional traffic caused by the lights is maxed at 12 people. Not sure we would see any changes.

It Should be for ALL the Kids  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 9:57 AM

We have no municipal pool for families in this town, but you do have a private club in the very middle of town with an admission policy that reserves the right to deny families admission for reasons that remain unclear at least to many. This is the 21st Century people. Don't you see how this looks or worse? There should be no breaks whatsoever for this "club" until there is a viable open admission alternative especially given are high high property taxes.

Private Clubber  

Posted: December 27th, 2012 9:45 AM

Definition of a private club: A place where 30-somethings who think they are cool allow stuck-up stilted 50-somethings to pick their friends for them to ensure the 30-somethings act and look just like the 50-somethings in 20 years.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 11:34 PM

@Greg: $95K per year in taxes is about the rate of six homes. I'm thinking that RFTC takes up more space in the village than six homes. Also, why have the wonderful members of the club not addressed the traffic / parking issue around the club (especially on Oak) already? Driving near "the club" is impossible during their open season. No one, including the Village, has addressed it. I did NOT buy a house across the street from the club but 3 blocks away...

RF Resident  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 8:54 PM

RFTC neighbors knew they we were buying houses next to a seasonal tennis club and have for years accepted the inconveniences without complaining. Wanting to enhance club member value, the RFTC continues to expand beyond its initial scope. There are pony rides, ice skating (under lights already in the winter), swim meets with loudspeakers and outdoor movie nights. Neighbors moved next to a tennis club not a year round theme park.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 4:27 PM

It certainly is NOT in the best interest of the Tennis Club to have a traffic study completed. The Village needs to get this completed and publish it for residents to review.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 4:25 PM

What happens to those who need to park at the middle school during the evenings in the fall when the night tennis players are going strong? Already it is a dangerous place to drive during the summer. Now when school is in session it will be even worse.

Greg from RF  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 4:22 PM

I am not a member and probably will not seek to join. However, an organization that pays $95,000 a year in property taxes should be valued and be given every benefit of the doubt. The people who belong are active/positive members of the community and give much more than they ask for. I am sure they will work to address neighbors concerns.

Bono Voce from Oak Park  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 4:16 PM

Ms. Voci, a word of advice...if you see someone peeing on your lawn, use your phone & take a photo. Then inform the police. This sounds like a lone gadfly with an axe to grind. You neglected to research the impact of buying a home with a tennis club ACROSS THE STREET?? I also find it hard to believe large numbers of tennis players smoke cigarettes. I agree...light the RFTC!! Public or private, it doesn't matter.

lionel from Maywood   

Posted: December 26th, 2012 4:04 PM

tensnen I know it's tennis, I just think it would be good to add basketball at night when we get off work. We played at Keystone years ago when there were not lights and they ended up closing the basketball courts, now we get lights add basketball and will have teams

Need not apply  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 3:11 PM

Are Catholics allowed? I heard "back in the day" it was very waspy.

Some Questions   

Posted: December 26th, 2012 2:15 PM

First, does the tennis club get any property tax breaks? Have heard they might. Second, how can it guarantee that their admission policies don't operate to discriminate against minorities, single divorced parents or parents of special needs children? If they can't guarantee it with something other than a "trust us" type assurance, they shouldn't get any breaks be it taxes, lights or otherwise. These are honest questions and hoping for sound answers.

Sean Ristau from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 1:22 PM

I don't need to be a member; have zero desire. All I would say is that residents who have houses around the club are entitled to their opinions. Lighting the stadium is completely different than lighting a private tennis club. Private matter vs. complete public tax payer funded matter. Go ahead and put signs in front yards to light the tennis club, that is fine with me.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 12:41 PM

A quick perusal of the RFTC website yields some interesting factoids. First, RFTC has been in it's current location since 1906! So, if you bought a home in RF in the last 100 years RFTC predates you! Also, membership is limited to 225 families, so you'd think impact on the area is already maximized for the most part. Hundreds in RF proudly displayed "light the stadium" yard signs. Same with it. Light the Courts!!

TEN S N E 1 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 12:18 PM

Lionel and Sean, you do know it is a private, members only club? So you won't be playing hoops unless you join. And Sean, join and make your proposal on what the land could be used for. The property is owned by the dues paying members. Yes there is property taxes paid on the land. Every time the members make improvements to the property the tax assessment goes up.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 10:54 AM

This is a fascinating issue. I'd like to commission a survey of homes w/in a 5 block radius of RFTC, asking: 1) How many of those supported lights at OPRF? 2) How many have ever allowed their kids to drive cars (& park them) to OPRF & Fenwick? This looks to be classic OP NIMBY-ism. For the record, I favor lights in both places. Lights themselves won't bother the neighbors due to the latest technology. It's a question now of the level of selfishiness from neighbors. Discuss...

Sean Ristau from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 10:44 AM

I don't believe it's appropriate to have lights installed for the tennis courts. Many residents around the tennis club shouldn't have to deal with increased traffic. RF Homeowner does bring up a good point, how much does the tennis club pay in real estate taxes? I think there are much better uses of that property than what it is currently used for.

Lionel from Maywood   

Posted: December 26th, 2012 10:07 AM

I would be in favor of lights if they would consider taking down a few tennis courts and putting up some basketball courts for night time playing.

RF Homeowner from River Forest  

Posted: December 26th, 2012 7:58 AM

I am a home owner living within three blocks of the Tennis Club. Throughout the entire season we are unable to maneuver east on Oak St and adjust our driving to avoid it at all times. How unfortunate that this organization has that kind of power. Does the club pay property taxes? They sure do burden the non-members.

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