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Pittsfield Parks Commission OKs Pickleball Facility Design
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:03AM / Thursday, March 23, 2023
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pickleball plans at Springside Park have been scaled down to fit the $500,000 budget.

On Tuesday, the Parks Commission approved a plan that includes six pickleball courts and a smaller parking lot.

"What we're finding is that the eight-court facility was beyond the resources that we had in place," Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath said, referring to the half million dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funding that was allocated to the project.

The city hopes to get the project out to bid as soon as possible and have the eight to 10-week construction done this year.

There are two alternates built into the base bid if pricing allows. These include an asphalt parking lot instead of a gravel parking lot and the additional two courts.

McGrath explained that there will be four-foot fencing to separate the courts and the south side perimeter fencing will have noise-dampening mats because there are neighbors about 300 feet away.

"It would appear to be an appropriate and ample separating distance but we also want to ensure that there are additional accommodations being made to control potential noise from the final facility," he said.

Users will be welcomed by a plaza area that has a bike rack, a trash can, and possibly a bulletin board kiosk. It will be fully accessible from the 23-space parking lot with three handicapped-accessible spots.

The site will need a stormwater permit from the Conservation Commission for its drainage swale that will handle runoff.

Last year,  a site selection committee quickly narrowed down nearly 50 possible locations to six and landed on Springside as the best option for an eight-court facility in the northeast corner of the park.  The commission approved the Benedict Road location in November.

This is the approximate site of the previously approved pickleball proposal next to the Doyle Softball Complex and behind the water tower that had its funding scrapped in 2019.

Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong and is suitable for singles and doubles. It has recently grown in popularity with the Sports and Fitness Industry Association estimating 4.8 million current players, which is almost double the number of players five years ago.

Four pickleball courts comfortably fit within one tennis court, making the proposed playing area about the size of two tennis courts.

There was some discussion about bathroom facilities at the facility.

Original plans had an accessible pathway from the pickleball courts to the existing bathrooms at the softball complex but were removed from this design due to cost.

Though the paved path is not out of consideration, initial designs include a hard-packed path.

There are also accommodations for portable toilets.

"Not the most desirable but again, when we were balancing some of the costs that we're seeing with the design and with the available funding we had to make some decisions about how to accommodate that," McGrath said.

"We absolutely know we can, at some point in the future, do a pathway but it's just not shown in this iteration of the plan simply because of resources."

It was highlighted that other funding opportunities could be used for parts of the plan that did not make the cut.

Pittsfield Pickleball Courts by

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