By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Pickleball enthusiasts will have to exercise patience when it comes to additional courts in the area.
The topic was revisited at the Warsaw Parks & Recreation Board meeting Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Last month, Butch Schapson, Warsaw, representing Pickleball Phanatics, asked the board to allow temporary pickleball tape lines to be placed on the tennis courts at Kelly Park.
In September 2019, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Kelly Park, located on Fawley Street, for four dedicated pickleball courts.
However, Schapson said the sport has grown so much that oftentimes people are standing around waiting to play. Some grow discouraged and leave, Schapson said.
He told board members the temporary lines would not be confusing for pickleball players or tennis players.
Board Member Jill Beehler said she spoke with a friend who plays both tennis and pickleball. The friend conveyed that tennis players do not want the courts at Kelly Park to be strictly pickleball courts.
Beehler said she also went to Center Lake to see what the parking situation is at that location in order to determine whether it makes more sense to potentially add pickleball courts in that area.
Warsaw Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer said he has noticed that tennis is played mostly in the afternoon or early evening hours at Bixler Park.
Pickleball seems to be more popular in the mornings, Plummer said.
“I think that’s feasible of having, you know, the courts at Kelly and then, you know, look at our five-year master plan and maybe converting one of the courts at Bixler Park into pickleball, so that’s something we can definitely look at,” Plummer said.
Board Member Michelle Boxell said that after viewing pictures of a court where tape had been put down for lines, she is not comfortable with the idea of the temporary tape linage.
“I know they said ‘Well, that’s not the type of tape we would use. We’d use special pickleball tape’ but until I actually am able to set eyes on a court where that pickleball tape was pulled up and see what it looked like after it had been down for a summer, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that temporary linage like that,” Boxell said.
Warsaw Parks Board Vice-President Larry Ladd was in agreement.
Ladd told board members he checked out the situation in Goshen and found that they do not have any courts that are used for both pickleball and tennis.
He said he checked with other municipalities as well, including Crawfordsville, and was unable to find any with courts that are used for both sports.
Ladd also went to the Warsaw High School tennis courts where he saw remnants of the tape.
“The courts that we have at Kelly are so nice. I would hate to mark those up and take that chance,” Ladd said. “I think at this point I certainly couldn’t support changing the tennis court, even on a temporary basis. I think it’s not the right move for us.”
Board President Steve Haines asked how far off they are from the next five-year plan. Plummer responded that it’s set to begin work on next year.
Motion was made and seconded to table the addition of any new pickleball courts until the next five-year plan.
In another matter, Plummer said that after receiving approval from the board last month to begin the Ker Park project, they have removed the existing playground and concrete in that area.
“Our whole goal is to have the concrete, the tables, the trash receptacles and the bench swings and the concrete work done by this fall so then in the springtime we can just put the playground equipment in and the engineered wood fiber and do a little landscaping and the park will be ready to go for next year,” Plummer said.
Toward the end of the meeting, Warsaw Parks Recreation Director Sheila Wieringa presented a monthly update to the board.
The last concert of the Central Park Concert Series will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at the Central Park Plaza and will feature the gospel group “The Sound.”
Programs will remain digital until future notice, Wieringa said, and they are looking ahead to the fall and Christmas events.
“Those are going to look a little different this year,” Wieringa said, although details have not been ironed out yet.
They are looking into the possibility of a drive-thru style trunk or treat event this fall. Wieringa said that although they aren’t sure what this year’s Christmas event will look like, they are hoping to be able to provide Santa for the kids, “just in a different way.”
Following Wieringa’s presentation, Warsaw Parks Maintenance Director Shaun Gardner provided a monthly maintenance report.
In addition to the work at Kern Park, Gardner said they completed the relocation of the irrigation pump for Central Park.
Although they had recently only been watering the flower bed areas at Central Park, Gardner said last month’s water bill still ended up being $1,400.
“We’re very happy to have the pump over to the new pump house location and we’re pumping like crazy out of the lake right now trying to catch up on our grass,” Gardner said.
An irrigation system has also been added at Rotary Park.
They have finished installation of swings at Kelly Park. Gardner said the combination swings, where a parent and child can swing together on the same swing, has been very popular.
In other matters:
- Work is continuing on construction drawings for the Center Lake Pavilion.
- The next regular meeting will be 5:15 p.m. Sept. 15.