Let’s play pickleball, tennis players

January 24, 2020

I am writing to urge the Lewes Parks and Recreation Commission to accept the current plan for four dedicated and two temporary pickleball courts (total six), one dedicated tennis court and separate basketball courts.

The total cost of this project is $160,000 with Lewes City paying $75,000 and Delaware Parks and Recreation matching with $75,000. The plan shows one tennis court to be converted to four dedicated pickleball courts, allowing 16 pickleball players to play. This is an excellent utilization of space for pickleballers of all ages, while still providing one tennis court for tennis players.

Note that because DNREC is matching funds with Lewes, the State of Delaware is investing in this project for the public good of all taxpaying Delawareans.

The most important reason to stay with the current proposal is as follows: Several years ago the Lewes Parks and Rec Commission upgraded the Canalfront courts to include four permanently lined pickleball courts in addition to the two tennis courts, giving pickleball a total of six courts. Unfortunately, two of the lined courts were unusable because there was only three feet between the baselines of the courts. We feel we should have at least the six courts proposed under the new plan.

Pickleball players have followed the posted rules for play times for five years. When tennis players have been on the dedicated tennis court they stayed until their allotted time was over and then the pickleballers would play.  Presently there are eight tennis courts close by at Cape High School. Why can’t tennis players use those courts? Pickleballers aren’t allowed on those courts. Is it fair that tennis has the option of a total of nine courts in Lewes while taking away dedicated pickleball courts?

The two sides of the issue were presented at the open meeting Jan. 14  with pickleballers  clearly outnumbering tennis players substantially. Right now I have more than 150 pickleballers on my mailing list who want to play on the Lewes court every week from spring thru fall and after if weather is good.  Other groups have mailing lists with many more who would like to play if courts were available.

It is true that there are other places to play pickleball like Dave Marshall/Plantations, and Sports at the Beach.

However, they are indoor facilities with no air-conditioning, making playing untenable during the warm spring and summer months. The Factory has only three nets and the YMCA in Rehoboth has one court and limited play. Taking away pickleball courts and keeping both tennis courts at the canal would be a step back to those living in Lewes, Sussex County and Delaware.

We welcome our local tennis players to join in the pickleball fun! We offer free lessons and use of our paddles and balls - just wear your tennis shoes!

Susan Brooker
member board of directors, Delaware Senior Olympics
USAPA ambassador


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