Pickleballers need to reach higher
Pickleball advocates struck out before the Lewes parks commission in their initiative to reconfigure the tennis courts at Canalfront Park.
Though Mayor and Council will have final say, they should not be discouraged. Instead they should think much bigger and listen to suggestions that they look elsewhere for a dedicated pickleball facility.
There is plenty of publicly owned land in Lewes in the Great Marsh park area near the university that offers possibilities, and the economy is roaring. New developments coming nearby could be solicited for financial support toward this great amenity, and the fastest-growing demographic in eastern Sussex can provide political muscle to help secure public funds. This would promote a win-win partnership that could result in a first-class facility that could also further strengthen the local economy.
In a nation seeing steady increases in healthcare costs – many related to unhealthy lifestyle choices – pickleball offers a healthier alternative for finding happiness. The game can be easy or competitive for all ages.
Pickleball offers physical and mental health benefits, and is also a sociable game. One longtime local said this week that through pickleball he has become acquainted with people – many new to the area – that he would never have otherwise met.
Mental and physical activity along with sociability are often cited as important factors for staying healthy, especially as we grow older.
The Lewes courts plan tried to jam too much into too small a space.
When the state negotiated with University of Delaware almost 20 years ago to acquire 60 or so acres of land along Park Road, now called Great Marsh Park, there was discussion that the land should be used primarily for outdoor recreation.
The state turned the land over to Lewes to administer. Small pieces have since been used for a dog park and a community garden.
The city knows there’s strong interest. A pickleball facility fits the mold. It’s time for the pickleballers to think big, and harness their passion and energy for a new facility. Find seed money for a conceptual plan, and then start raising money. Strike while the iron is hot!