To the editor:
Regarding the pickleball drama, this issue has been mismanaged since its inception because all stakeholders were not considered, which is the most basic strategy when seeking to elicit change.
Pickleball is a loud game. Never at any point was the impact on the neighborhood surrounding Marblehead Veterans Middle School considered. The din of the plastic equipment and the abrasive vocalizing of the players is nerve-wracking.
Locking the pickleball courts was the best decision Recreation and Parks has ever made. The noise from the courts, without protection from foliage, reverberates through the neighborhood due not only to the game and its players but also due to the proximity of the PAC.
Neighbors were neither consulted nor warned about the construction of these courts. I live across the street, and I can hear the game inside my house with the windows closed.
I find this decision very upsetting. I felt that the locking of the courts was respectful of the neighborhood, but I see that this niche organization has again used a manipulative strategy to get its way.
In general, the “regulars” at the MVMS courts are loud, rude and disrespectful to the neighborhood. I know, for a fact, that some of these regulars have driven out other pickleball players as well as those who enjoy playing on the lone tennis court. I do not welcome them back and am not looking forward to the noise pollution perpetuated by this decision.
It would have been less impactful and far more considerate to reopen the courts at Seaside if courts had to be reopened at all.
And, in case people are of the opinion that I should have been at the meeting — believe me — had I known, I would have been there. As with the construction, neighbors were not informed.
I have attended a Rec and Park meeting in the past to ask about noise mitigation, which was explored and is both cost and safety prohibitive. MVMS is, first, a school. The currently available mitigation, which is an acoustic wrap or acoustic baffles, blocks view and sound, which is inappropriate for the courts’ primary purpose.
I have reached out through both phone calls and emails to Superintendent Peter James regarding planting a non-deciduous barrier, such as fast-growing arborvitae or Japanese larch, on one to three sides of the courts, and he has neither returned my calls nor emails.
I am not necessarily anti-pickleball. Had stakeholders been considered from the beginning, a compromise, such as fewer courts with some funds encumbered for noise mitigation would have been a rich start to the conversation.
When the Farmers Market wanted to relocate from Village to MVMS, stakeholders were informed, our concerns were heard, and we were able to move forward. Our neighborhood now welcomes the Farmers Market as a vital part of our makeup. They approached change appropriately.
I am not irate. I am wildly disappointed in everyone involved with this. Selfishness is never an admirable characteristic.
Hope the town will listen to the neighbors and consider making the Seaside courts pickleball accessible and finding ways to give the MVMS neighbors some noise protection.