At their meeting on Sept. 18, Limerick Township council heard from Victoria Tisdale, clerk and treasurer, and staff on their investigation to install pickleball courts at the Limerick Community Centre. Tisdale said they’d be looking into a grant soon to cover some of the cost of these courts, and council was pleased with the outcome of this investigation, telling staff to proceed with applying for the grant and getting these courts into place by next spring if possible.
Tisdale and staff’s investigation into the cost and application of these Pickleball courts arose from a delegation at their Aug. 21 meeting from residents and Steenburg Lake Community Association members Michael Duggan and Chris Langman regarding their petition to bring pickleball and tennis courts for community use to the Limerick Community Centre. Another organizer, Patrice Simmons, also participated via Zoom during that meeting.
According to Tisdale’s Sept. 18 report, staff will proceed with applying to the Ontario Trillium Fund’s Resilient Communities Fund to offset the cost of these pickleball courts, estimated to cost between $40,000 to $50,000 for one court, or $80,000 to $100,000 for the two courts Limerick is planning to install.
Pickleball is described as a combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, played on a smaller court than tennis with a paddle similar to a table tennis paddle and a plastic ball with holes in it. Created by Washington state’s Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum back in 1965 as a game for the whole family, the first Pickleball court was built two years later, while a corporation was established in 1972 to protect this new sport’s creation. The first tournament was held in 1976 in Tukwila, Washington and Pickleball has since exploded in popularity around the world in the years since.
According to Tisdale’s report, one pickleball court is a single size 20-foot by 40-foot rectangle for both singles and doubles games, with room at the sides and each end for running off the court to get the ball, so a total area of 30 feet by 60 feet is recommended.
The net for the pickleball court is 36 inches at the posts or sidelines and 34 inches to the centre, while the net posts should go beyond the sidelines at a recommended distance of one foot. The left and right service areas are 10 feet wide and 15 feet long while the two non-volley zones should extend seven feet on each net side, called the kitchen.
The pickleball court surface materials can be asphalt or concrete. While asphalt is affordable it requires more frequent upkeep and repair than concrete, which is also affordable and longer-lasting. Concrete would cost $15,000 to $18,000 to lay down. Drainage, grading, site layout and excavation would need to be factored in the cost with these outdoor courts.
For site preparation, according to Tisdale, a flat surface is ideal where players can play in a north south orientation to lessen direct sun glare for the players. This would cost in excess of $10,000.
Land clearing, land levelling, grading and fill may need to be included in the cost, while the court itself needs to be sloping 0.83 per cent to one per cent in one direction to necessitate the drainage of rain water. Tisdale recommended having this site preparation work done in-house, as those $10,000 plus cost could be saved versus contracting it out.
Painting the pickleball court surface would cost $200 to $600 and Tisdale suggested purchasing a line painting machine for $500 as these court lines would need to be refreshed from time to time.
Installing an eight-foot fence around each of these new pickleball courts would cost approximately $6,000 and doing so in-house would save money, according to Tisdale. Lighting would also be required and costs around $10,000 installed.
“A typical pickleball court will require two or four poles that are 20 feet tall, with four LED lights mounted on each pole to provide sufficient lighting for night games,” she says.
There would also be various maintenance requirements for these new pickleball courts, which would be as follows; they’d need to be kept clean and swept daily, prompt removal of any rainwater, lines should always be kept clear, lines repainted regularly to preclude fading, dusting and washing the nets every six months or each season, checking lights and electrical connections regularly.
Tisdale said that building courts from new should make them last a decade with minimal maintenance, depending on usage, maintenance should run $300 to $1,000 per year.
Tisdale also said that coordination of the scheduling of the pickleball courts would be incorporated into an online booking system through the township’s website, and that to help with the maintenance costs, user fees would be implemented.
Since these new courts will be pickleball courts only, council suggested to Duggan and Simmons, who were at the Sept. 18 meeting, that they do a delegation to Tudor and Cashel Township council to ask to use their basketball court, which could be repurposed as a tennis court without too much effort, allowing the community to have access to said tennis court if they desired. Duggan and Simmons said they would do so at the next available opportunity.
Duggan told The Bancroft Times that the court committee is delighted with the warmth extended to them both by Limerick council and staff.
“The council has embraced a new role as builders of amenities and should be congratulated for accepting their responsibility.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times