Tennis courts at Garfield to be converted into pickleball | News, sports, jobs

The city council this week approved an agreement with the Blair County Pickleball Club that will allow the group to embark on an $ 85,000 transformation of two tennis courts in Garfield Park into six pickleball courts.

Work from Baltimore-based contractor ACT CORP will begin soon and be completed in early June, according to club treasurer Bruce Leavens, who attended the board meeting.

The club has raised the money for the project from members and local businesses, after getting permission for the project from the Central Blair Recreation & Park Commission in May last year, after the commission sent the court to decide whether tennis players would object.

No one did.

By the end of the work, there will be far more pickleball players at Garfield than there would ever have been tennis players, said Hope Sheehan, who was on the tennis courts Tuesday night waiting for friends to arrive to play pickleball using temporary net that the club had. players have created and taken down in the last few years.

At capacity, the six permanent courts will accommodate as many as 24 players at one time – compared to a maximum of eight for tennis.

There are 154 club members and they will play every day of the week at Garfield after the project is completed, Leavens said.

The biggest use will be during good weather from 7:30 a.m. to noon and from late afternoon to evening, Leavens said.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States, Sheehan said.

It is a means of healthy activity and easy socializing, and it is welcoming to people at all levels, she said.

Many former tennis players have taken up the sport as they get older, including Dave Berry, who arrived shortly after Sheehan on Tuesday to play.

Now 74, he started playing tennis in high school, with considerable success.

“Pickleball is an Answer to My Prayers,” said Berry. It’s an easy one “transfer of skills.”

After the cement for the posts is set up, ACT workers will lay a leveling sealer, then several coats of special paint, according to Leavens.

Areas outside the lanes will be red, areas behind the lanes dark blue and areas closest to the grid light blue, he said.

Although the club pays for the project, according to the agreement, the courts remain the property of the city.

Anytime “the pitches are not in use by the club,” they must, according to the agreement, be available to the public.

The club will have to plan its reserved use of the pitches with the Rec Commission under the agreement.

The club will only occupy all six courts 25 percent of the time when members play, Leavens guessed.

The agreement is for five years, with an automatic one-year extension thereafter, unless one of the parties decides to terminate – which can happen at any time according to the agreement.

Termination requires 180 days notice.

The agreement releases the municipality from responsibility for everything that happens in connection with the club’s use of the courts.

According to the agreement, the club must obtain permission from the city for changes after the completion of the upcoming project.

Trees in the immediate vicinity of the court have been felled in preparation for the project, including evergreen plants at one end that provided shade.

It was unfortunately necessary because the shade and feces from the trees have caused and would cause deterioration, Sheehan said.

She pointed to marks all over the place where shavings have been patched due to moisture acting on feces from the trees.

the courts “was on the verge of disintegrating into uselessness,” said Sheehan.

“It should be done if we’re serious about making things work,” she said.

Elimination of feces and shade also eliminates slippery spots that often form in areas near the evergreens, she said.

One benefit of the Garfield courses is their distance from homes and businesses, so that residents and guests are not bothered by the pounding noise of paddles on plastic balls and the balls bouncing off the course, Sheehan said.

In addition to approving the deal, the council approved a $ 2,300 grant from the city’s Goodman Trust recreation fund for landscaping around the courts, Leavens said.

Fundraising continues to raise money for fencing, lighting and a storage unit, according to the club’s application for the Goodman Trust grant.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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