EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) – A proposal introduced by Evansville City Council members Missy Mosby (D – 2nd Ward) and Jonathan Weaver (R – At Large) that would have halted the construction of the pickleball courts at Wesselman Park was defeated 7-2 at Monday night’s meeting.

A large number of people showed up to share their concerns and hopes, for the project.

“You know you have plans you want to move forward – not just for one park, not just for one project in pickleball, but parks all throughout the community – but then you run into a brick wall like we did right now,” says Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer, who also serves as Interim Parks Director.

Some residents were concerned about what they feel will be irreversible damage done to Wesselman Park – worrying the construction would disrupt a fragile ecosystem.

“The birds, the nature, and the old growth trees, I mean that’s something that we’re the only place in a city that has that, I just think there has to be somewhere else we could put the pickleball court,” says one concerned citizen.

Others were more concerned with what they think will be an unacceptable increase in noise and light pollution in the subdivisions neighboring the park, insisting that there were better options available for the project

“It is prudent to cut our losses and to conduct a responsible search for a more appropriate size and a more appropriate site. To my knowledge, there is no member with environmental expertise on the park board of commissioners. Therefore, the board has no understanding of the destruction it will cause the environment with this project,” says another resident critical of the development.

Despite these concerns, the Council decided to move forward. They say this is the best move to ensure the future of Wesselman Park.

“I think there’s a lot of good for our future. I think there are concessions that can be made to make this okay. Most importantly, this has been a learning lesson in people and all of you around – kudos for speaking up for what you believe in, and I hope whether you agree or disagree, that you’ll continue to be involved. That said, I’m voting no,” says Councilman Ben Trockman (D – 1st Ward).