LWV OBSERVER CORPS: Rec & Parks takes votes on pickleball, tennis courts

Marblehead League of Women Voters Observer Corps
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Observer Corps Reports are provided by volunteers from the Marblehead League of Women Voters. To learn more about the League and its activities, see my.lwv.org/massachusetts/marblehead.

BOARD: Recreation & Parks Commission

DATE: Oct. 30 (in person, not recorded)

MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Matt Martin, Karin Ernst, Linda Rice-Collins, Shelly Bedrossian and Rossanna Ferrante, along with Recreation Director Jaime Bloch and Superintendent Peter James 

LWVM OBSERVER: Maggie Smist  

Seaside Park tennis courts

Discussion on making Courts 2-4 dual-purpose use for both tennis and pickleball, permanently lining Court 2 and temporary lining Courts 3 and 4.

  • With many people in attendance, Bedrossian summarized findings from the last meeting and mainly the points that were not voted on at the last meeting.
  • She discussed and summarized her sound study outlined in the Powerpoint from the Oct. 18 meeting.
  • She discussed the other courts and the number of courts available in other towns per population.
  • Bedrossian discussed the reasoning behind the reservation system and the number of townspeople using tennis and pickleball courts. She discussed the number of slots that will open up with all the changes to the reservation system and hours open.
  • Costs associated with lining temporarily and cost of fencing discussed.
  • After the presentation and public comments, an amendment was made by Bedrossian to the original plan as outlined on Vote 4 and 5. An amendment to this amendment was made and both approved with votes 3-2.  Change to original vote is that Court 2 at Seaside will become permanent pickleball, and Courts 3 and 4 will remain tennis.

Summary of public comments 

  • Tennis doesn’t use the reservation system as much, and they’ll be boxed out of using courts. A comment was made about kids not just being able to go down and play with the reservation system.
  • Why not add three new pickleball courts and not make dual-purpose courts?
  • The girls varsity tennis team coach stated they don’t want lines on court as players are learning on these courts, and it is difficult. Money was raised for Seaside tennis courts from townspeople about five years ago.  
  • Bubier Road homeowner discussed the noise level and use of music at courts — feels another study should be one on noise and consider noise barriers and quieter products. This was brought up a few times in other public comments.
  • Pickleball has a positive influence in town, and we don’t want to pit older people who play pickleball against younger tennis players.
  • A pickleball supporter saw Bedrossian doing noise study, and it was a solid study, in supporter’s view.
  • A few comments were made about out-of-towners using Marblehead courts and private lessons being given on tennis courts.

Park Department update, Peter James

  • Lighting contract has been sent to the Light Department, and once contracts are signed, work will be done.
  • The bids for boilers are due this Thursday. Only one company has put in a bid so far.
  • The fence for Seaside has been discussed with the town and will be shipped this week.
  • Gatchell lights will be fixed this week.
  • Willow trees have been planted at Seaside.
  • Tom McGovern has offered to pay for basketball court resurfacing at Seaside. James is trying to get bids.
  • Budget is due by Nov. 13. Department is asking for two part-time employees.
  • Stramski project is moving forward, and they are meeting with engineers — they will frame out where lift is being placed.
  • Survey and map has been completed for bench owners. There will be new benches installed. 

Recreation Department update, Jaime Bloch

  • Fall session has ended, and new session runs through the holiday. Programming will be moved indoors. Every room in the community center will be used depending on staffing.
  • Basketball season has started. Hall monitors and gym attendants are still needed. There was a discussion about ages of employees for the position and “how” they would be paid. Bloch emphasized the need for commitment and professionalism from those hired.
  • The summer 2024 email will go out soon, and the remainder of the year is being planned now. There was a discussion of the schedule for the school year and staffing. The Parks Department will begin advertising for staffing at the same time as the Recreation Department. It is a challenge to build staffing through the winter months.

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