|Letter: Pittsfield's Pickleball Service a Fault|
|Letter to the Editor, |
03:00PM / Thursday, April 18, 2019
To the Editor:
I am deeply concerned with the city of Pittsfield's plan to install a $350,000 pickleball facility in Springside Park.
The 2018 Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) Pickleball Participant Report reveals that there are approximately 3.1 million pickleball players in the United States out of a total population of 327.2 million people. If one applies the same participation rate to the city of Pittsfield, with its population 42,591, one can reasonably conclude that the total population of pickleball players in the city amounts to approximately 404.
A 2016 SFIA Pickleball Participation Report found that only 37 percent of players are "core" players (defined as playing 8 or more times per year). From our citywide population of 404 players, we can reasonably conclude that approximately 151 are core players. Additionally, 75 percent of those "core" players are at least 55 years old.
In The Berkshire Eagle article, Mr. McGrath claims that pickleball is "huge" and that it is "not a single demographic sport" but the numbers tell a different story. The numbers tell us that regular participation in the sport is quite low and that the vast majority of regular participants do indeed come from a single demographic.
As of this writing, 442 people have signed the petition to support the Springside Park Master Plan.
The fact that the city of Pittsfield is prepared to disburse $350,000 in support of a project for just 151 citizens seems irresponsible enough. That there is no plan for maintenance when park maintenance in our city is already an issue shows a lack of planning and foresight. That the Springside Park conservancy – the group of citizens most concerned with the development and maintenance of Springside Park see it as being fundamentally opposed to the interests of the park is at least concerning. It is quite obvious that more discussion about this plan is warranted and necessary.
I urge those in City Hall — Mayor Tyer, the Community Preservation Committee, and City Council among them — to listen to the 442 citizens who have raised their concern. I urge them to listen to the Springside Park Conservancy, the group that was entrusted with planning, protecting, and executing the Springside Park Master Plan. I urge them to trust their citizens, to trust the Conservancy, and ultimately to table the execution of this plan until a plan that is beneficial to all citizens of Pittsfield exists.