‘Pickleball Has Taken Over’: Paddle Tennis Numbers Down

Though platform or “paddle” tennis, like other outdoor activities, saw a major uptick during the pandemic, the number of people seeking permits is down, parks officials say. One reason appears to be that an increasing number of people are choosing a different outdoor racket sport, according to Parks and Recreation Director John Howe: pickleball. “Unfortunately, this year and last year, our [paddle] permit sales are way down,” Howe told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission during their regular meeting, held Wednesday night at Lapham Community Center and via videoconference. “We’re not seeing the same usage that we had in the past,” Howe said. “We think a lot of it is, while the [paddle] numbers are down, pickleball has taken over.

Town: Early-Morning Pickleball Noise Complaints Down After Locking Up Mead Courts Overnight

Town officials say they’ve effectively addressed noise complaints about pre-dawn pickleball players at Mead Park by locking the courts until 8 a.m.

In the early weeks of summer, pickleball players ignored the signs saying that the courts were open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.—and, in fact, vandalized and removed some of those signs—starting matches as early as 5:30 a.m., according to Parks & Recreation Director John Howe. “We’ve been dealing with noise complaints and we’ve put up some signs with the hours, which were vandalized and taken down and removed,” Howe told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their most recent meeting, held July 12 at Lapham Community Center. 

“So we’re going to be putting up new signs. But what we’re having problems with is people were actually going out as early as 5:30 to play. The pickleball courts are open continually 8 to 8, and so we had to start locking them up. Before that we had them unlocked.

Town To Work on Parking Lot at Mead Following Rise in Pickleball Court Use

Though they’ve been open less than two years, the pickleball courts at Mead Park have become so popular that the town is looking at ways to get more parking spaces into the lot that serves the facility, officials said last week. All five courts were in use at lunchtime on April 12, Parks & Recreation Director John Howe told members of the Parks & Rec Commission during their regular meeting that night. “It’s caused a parking issue down there,” he said during the meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. The warmer weather and busier season at Mead—clay tennis courts, Mead Park Lodge, baseball and playground visitors—are expected to exacerbate the parking crunch, commissioners said. The parking configuration is “going to have to change,” Parks & Rec Secretary Francesca Segalas said.