Mattapoisett eyes additional pickleball courts
MATTAPOISETT — Mattapoisett’s Recreation Department is doing what it can to keep up with America’s fastest growing sport — Pickleball.
The Community Preservation Committee voted unanimously Friday, March 7 to approve the addition of pickleball courts at the Center School, pending approval from Town Meeting.
This would include repairing the two basketball courts at the Center School that are “in disrepair,” according to Chuck McCullough, chair of the committee.
“The plan is that when the surface is relaid, we want to extend that surface to include new pickleball courts,” said McCullough. These courts would have collapsible nets so that Center School students could still use the space for four square and other games.
The total cost for the reconstruction of the basketball courts and addition of pickleball courts will be $55,000. This would be paid for by the Community Preservation Act fund, provided that voters at this year’s Town Meeting approve making these funds available to the project.
The Community Preservation Act allows residents of a community to assess 1% of property tax revenues for property values over $100,000 into a fund. Mattapoisett residents have previously approved such a fund.
This money sits in a community account and can be used for affordable housing, historical preservation, or, as in this case, use of open space and recreation. A Town Meeting vote is required for these funds to be made available for a specific project.
Greta Fox, director of the Mattapoisett Recreation Department, explained that pickleball is “just crazy popular right now.” As a tennis player herself, she said that it’s easier to learn and less demanding on the body than tennis. “So, a lot of senior citizens get really into it,” she added.
Fox also said that she saw a lot of tennis players were switching over to pickleball or playing both sports.
Pickleball is a hybrid of tennis, badminton, and ping pong and is played by nearly five million Americans.
The Recreation Department had their first pickleball tournament last fall. They were able to have 24 spots in order to fill all available courts. “We filled it right away,” Fox said.
Fox also noted that it was “great how social it is.” She has seen a lot of community groups gather. “The people who run [those groups] are so nice, beginners will just drop in and experienced players will take the time to pull them aside and teach them.”
The Recreation Department also has lessons, although they’re in high demand. “We don’t even advertise and the spots are filling up.”
Mattapoisett voters will be able to weigh in on the construction of these courts at the annual town meeting at 6 p.m. May 9 at Old Rochester Regional High School.