By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Discussion at the Warsaw Parks & Recreation board meeting held Tuesday, July 28, focused on two local parks — Kelly and Ker.
Warsaw Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer received approval from board members to begin the Ker Park project this year.
Plummer applied for a grant through Sinclair Recreation LLC, a supplier of GameTime playground equipment in Michigan and Indiana. The parks department was awarded the grant in the amount of $52,439.77.
Ker Park, located on Market Street, will get new playground equipment as well as new picnic tables and receptacles. Plummer said the sidewalks there, which were put in many years ago, are deteriorating.
A new layout has been worked up for the park. They plan to take the sidewalks out and redo the entranceway. Plummer said the newly remodeled park will be “much bigger” than its current size.
In September 2019, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Kelly Park, located on Fawley Street, for four dedicated pickleball courts.
Butch Schapson, Warsaw, representing Pickleball Phanatics, attended Tuesday’s meeting with several requests.
“We really appreciate what you’ve done. It’s a wonderful facility,” Schapson said of the new pickleball courts at Kelly Park.
Schapson said they currently have 150 members in their group. Members of the group meet at Kelly Park to play pickleball on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. According to Schapson, there are generally between 30-42 players there each time.
After suggesting the addition of a gravel sidewalk from the pavilion to the side entrance so that the grass doesn’t get torn up, Schapson asked for permission to put temporary pickleball lines on the tennis courts.
Pickleball has grown so much, Schapson said, and they have so many members that often times people are just standing around waiting to play.
He said the temporary lines would not be confusing for pickleball players or tennis players. He further stated that the pickleballers would yield to any tennis players who may show up to play tennis, adding that he has never seen anyone playing tennis at Kelly Park.
“I’ve never seen a park used so much as when it’s pickleball day,” Schapson said.
As far as the parks department’s five-year parks plan, Schapson suggested having 12-16 pickleball courts in one place, stating that pickleball players like to play together in one location.
Schapson said this would provide an opportunity to bring visitors to the community with pickleball tournaments.
He pointed out the success of a recent pickleball tournament held in Bremen.
“They had 16 courts and over 500 people that they brought into that community,” Schapson said.
Board members agreed to table the discussion until next month so they would have time to review the information and look into this further.
Plummer asked board members to keep in mind that the drawing and concept for Kelly Park isn’t just about pickleball.
“There’s no doubt they have been used,” Plummer said of the pickleball courts.
He said he is grateful to have the opportunity for pickleball in the community but reminded board members that long term plans include bringing concerts to Kelly Park at some point in time as well as revitalizing the fishing pond.
“There are several factors to Kelly Park out there as opposed to just putting 18 pickleball courts somewhere and just have it so they can play all in one place,” Plummer said.
In other news:
- The next regular meeting will be at 5:15 Aug. 18.