Weston residents are “clamoring for pickleball courts,” said Parks and Recreation Director Dave Ungar, so the department plans to open three courts at Bisceglie-Scribner park this summer, assuming approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which seems highly likely.
The commission’s task will be to certify that a recreational sport is an appropriate use of a recreational park.
The Board of Selectmen voted to refer the plan to P&Z after hearing from Mr. Ungar, Parks and Recreation Commission chair Elizabeth Pocsik, and commission member Douglas Ries on January 18.
Right to left: Mr. Ungar, Ms. Pocsik, Mr. Ries
The plan is to install the three courts on one-fifth of an acre just off the Bisceglie parking lot along the walkway that leads to the pond. Mr. Ungar said there is actually room for four courts, but the idea is to start with three and maybe expand later. For now, the extra space might be used for a half basketball court.
Other locations were considered, including next to the Onion Barn (an idea that failed to launch) and an area behind the Board of Education building. The latter is sort of in limbo as decisions pend about a possible reconfiguration of Town and school district facilities. (Those decisions are likely to pend for quite some time.)
Neither alternative could hold more than two courts, said Mr. Ungar, but both would have been easier and cheaper to build on, being open, flat, and essentially shovel-ready. On the other hand, he said, in addition to having more capacity, Bisceglie has the advantages of location, parking, and other facilities.
Work at the park will involve removing some trees, leveling the land, and installing a drainage system. Mr. Ungar said the project will cost about $75,000 more than the Onion Barn location would have, but sufficient resources are available.
Mr. Ungar and the Selectmen
$100,000 was approved for pickleball in the town’s allocation of ARPA grants, and the Parks and Recreation Enterprise Fund will cover the rest of total costs, which come to about $250,000 for three courts.
The Enterprise Fund consists of revenue generated by Parks and Recreation programs, so, said Mr. Ungar, the project has no impact on taxes. He said the fund was used last year to pay for pond repairs and is healthy, and added that costs could reduce if the Department of Public Works is able to perform some of the work.
The hope, said Ms. Pocsik, is to begin construction this winter to make that summer opening.