Pickleball could arrive to Twin Lakes

By Jason Arndt
Editor

Since the Lance Park project more than five years ago, the Village of Twin Lakes has not seen an upgrade to any of its parks, but the Village Board could change the trend with two key improvements at Legion Park.

“We really have not put much money at all to any of our parks since the Lance Park project,” said Village Administrator Jennifer Frederick at the July 2 special board meeting.

Targeted projects at Legion Park will be resurfacing of the tennis courts, which could double for pickleball play, and new playground equipment.

Board members, who received proposals for each project, established a budget limit and advised Frederick to solicit more bids.

According to a preliminary estimate of the tennis court project, Poblocki Paving has offered to renovate the courts, including application of two coats of acrylic resurfacer and green textured sport sealer for $38,977.

For playground equipment upgrades, the board decided to cap the project at $60,000, after receiving an initial bid from Commercial Recreation Specialists.

Frederick, who said the Park Commission agreed to renovate one park at a time, told the board it will be the first major project.

“This is our first major improvement to a park in quite some time,” she said.

Frederick, in a follow-up email, reported Lance Park’s project involved adding to the Scout House.

“The Lance Park amphitheater and concession stand/bathroom addition to the Scout House were the most recent large parks projects,” she said. “They were done before I started, I believe in 2010-11.”

Playground upgrades
The new playground, meanwhile, has an estimated cost of $56,885 with the bulk of the expense due to the installation of rubber matting beneath the equipment.

The rubber matting, according to Frederick, replaces wood chips, requires less maintenance and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Village Trustee Sharon Bower asked what the village plans to do with the current playground equipment.

“Our plan is not to reuse it, I talked to public works about it,” said Frederick, noting early options included relocating it to another area in the village.

Fast-growing sport
For the tennis courts, users could use the surface for pickleball, a sport growing in popularity.

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with the net set to a height of 34 inches at the center, according to the USA Pickleball Association, the sport’s sanctioning body.

Competitors use paddles twice the size of ping-pong paddles.

In a presentation before the Village Board, resident Mary Brennan said the racquet-style sport could make Twin Lakes a prime location.

“It is the fastest growing sport in America,” she said. “I think the village has an opportunity to be referred to as one of the first towns to have courts.”

In a 2017 report released by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, there were 2.815 million players in the United States who played the sport, an increase of 12.3 percent from 2016.

“Part of the reason it is the fastest growing sport in America is it is very much a family sport,” Brennan said. “On the pickleball court, you are going to see grandparents playing with grandkids and every age in between.”

Brennan also said there are few pickleball courts in Wisconsin, which could entice more people to come to Twin Lakes.

In Wisconsin, there are 12 courts listed in the USAPA database, with none located in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties. The closest location is at Riverside Park in Janesville.

“We think it has a big opportunity of being a draw into town,” Brennan said.

During the presentation, Bower conveyed thoughts from some of her constituents who were curious about the sport.

“The people I talked to were like ‘What the heck is pickleball?” Bower said. “Those are the people in my neighborhood, they never heard of it.”

Frederick, however, broached the topic of pickleball at an annual conference she attended.

“It is very popular down in Florida,” Frederick said. “It is funny because I was just at my annual conference last week…and three different times, pickleball came up.”

Initial plans for the tennis courts consist of removing the ramps of the former skate park.

 
 

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