Wellesley Rec to make pickleball rec to schools, NRC

The Wellesley Recreation Commission on Monday, May 15 met to discuss the latest on the town’s pickleball dilemma, figuring out how to satisfy both people who want to play the paddle sport and neighbors who want relief from the noise.

The Commission had planned to discuss a proposal for a sound study from a firm called HMMH introduced at its previous meeting, but that outfit decided not to make a bid after receiving the town’s request, which was for a multifaceted study across courts, weather conditions, time of day, and use of different types of pickleball equipment, including sound-muffling gear.

That left most of the meeting for commissioners to deliberate over a recommendation to the School Committee, which oversees the courts at Sprague Field, Wellesley’s pickleball hotbed.

The meeting started with citizen speak, including from neighbors who pleaded with the Commission to find other places in town for pickleball to be played. One caller, Rob Mastroianni from Falmouth, described a lawsuit that neighbors have brought against the town of Falmouth over pickleball noise and a temporary injunction that has shut down courts for pickleball. “We’re going to court feeling pretty good and positive,” he said, noting that the Sprague court situation isn’t all that different than the one in Falmouth. “There’s not a lot of reason why the abutters and neighbors [in Wellesley] shouldn’t take the same path,” he said. Though added: “I think it should be avoided, it’s very divisive…”

After a quick look at pickleball reservation data in town over the past year (1,000-plus reservations), Rec Commission Chair Paul Cramer laid out a possible scenario that would entail initial compromise followed by a long-term solution of locating pickleball courts away from homes.

The near-term solution could involve moving the current Sprague courts a bit further away within the same court facility, tightening hours of play, and requiring use of quieter equipment, plus painting lines for four pickleball courts at the Hunnewell tennis courts on Washington Street to help the town keep up with demand for play. Putting up screens to shield neighbors from pickleball isn’t seen as a viable option given the way sound travels and the elevation of some properties above the courts.

“In the interim until we get to a solution where we’ve got courts at Morses Pond or somewhere else, we try to accommodate the people who are trying to get some exercise, and we try to make life less miserable for the neighbors,” Cramer said.

The longer-term solution could involve courts at a location away from homes, such as the Morses Pond parking lot.

Rec’s next move will be to reach out to the School Committee, which oversees the Sprague Field courts, and the Natural Resources Commission, which oversees the Hunnewell courts. Things are intertwined, as the school system has previously asked not to have pickleball at the Hunnewell courts, where the high school tennis teams practice and play.


Pickleball at Wellesley Country Club on Aug. 7

If you want to get fancy, the Charles River Regional Chamber invites members and non-members to take part in a round-robin pickleball tournament at Wellesley Country Club’s revamped racquet center. After play, you’re invited to a BBQ with those taking part in the chamber’s pickleball and golf events on Monday, Aug. 7.

More: At Wellesley hearing on pickleball noise, the sound of compromise breaks through

Sounding off on Wellesley pickleball noise

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