The Wellesley Recreation Commission is slated to meet on Friday, July 7 at 8am to make at least some decision about pickleball designed to provide noise relief to neighbors but not deprive players of the paddle sport they love.
Rec Commission reps has made the rounds recently at meetings of the Natural Resources Commission (watch Wellesley Media recording from June 15) and School Committee (June 20), both of which oversee town property where pickleball is played near homes (Perrin Park for the NRC, Sprague Field for the schools). The Rec Commission does not have jurisdiction of these properties.
Rec Commission ideas shared included shifting the pickleball courts at Sprague, using the Hunnewell Field tennis courts and basketball court (hoopsters unite if this will cramp your style!), and eventually finding a space like the Morses Pond parking lot or a corporate property that would be away from homes.
NRC and School Committee members were empathetic toward neighbors and players, though the NRC wanted to get more data before making any call, and Schools emphasized they do still want to at least keep pickleball at Sprague for school programs in the spring and fall. Other short- and long-term options remain on the table, including possible new locations for pickleball play.
The Rec Commission’s Ansley Martin said during the group’s own meeting on June 29 that he made clear the commission’s short- and long-term recommendations. He said everyone was receptive to the idea that new pickleball sites need to be identified, but that there’s a big difference between that and everyone signing off on it.
While the Rec Commission came close to making decisions on tightening playing hours to 9am-7pm and allowing pickleball on only certain days at certain courts, members decided they needed more data before making a decision. There was also discussion about the possibility of hiring park rangers to, in part, ensure pickleball players are following the town’s rules—the Rec Commission doesn’t want neighbors to have to play any enforcement role.
Rec does want to at least make some decision on pickleball with summer underway, so it could be as little as reduced hours and a recommendation that players use noise-reducing equipment, but it could be more dramatic scheduling changes.
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