SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS — A request for the borough to install two pickleball courts at Joseph E. Robertson Park on Allaire Road was made at the borough council meeting Feb. 6.
John Nugent, the President of the Fairway Mews Community Association, provided the presentation, and opened his comments noting what he described as the “explosive growth” in popularity for the racquet based recreational activity, which uses a hollow plastic ball and flat surfaced paddle.
Mr. Nugent noted that his stance benefits the collection of residents who have taken to pickleball, which has become a fun way for friends and family of different ages to actively come together.
“Demand will continue to grow as awareness increases,” said Mr. Nugent. “Decisions must be made now to meet the needs of residents in the future.”
The rapid rise in pickleball has placed a pressure on local municipalities to act. While tennis courts can be relined to include the lines for pickleball, this has caused more traffic at public tennis courts where people looking to play either tennis or pickleball are often left without an available court.
Some municipalities, such as Spring Lake Heights, which already has two pickleball courts already at Ocean Road Park, have installed courts designed solely for pickleball, which is played in significantly smaller space than tennis and is preferably played with a slightly lower net.
While the council was highly receptive to Mr. Nugent’s presentation, the members collectively agreed that they are waiting to hear back on whether they are going to receive funding from a state sponsored grant that is meant to improve recreational areas in municipalities.
In statements made after the meeting, borough administrator John Barrett said that if steps are taken to install more pickleball courts, the borough would first use “any and all available recreational grants” for the potential project. Once funding was sought from different grants, then the borough council would have to present an ordinance appropriating the remainder of the funds for the project.
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