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. But unfortunately or fortunately pickleball is very popular, so people are probably coming from other towns. They know there’s an open court and they’re up at 5:30 in the morning to play.”
The town also had hoped to use weighted lines and nets to install four additional pickleball courts on top of two tennis courts at New Canaan High School.
However, Howe told NewCanaanite.com, “the nets and the drop down lines have been removed by people wanting to play tennis.”
“I do not think it is a workable solution,” Howe said.
Even so, no new complaints from Mead neighbors about early-morning noise have come in since the pickleball courts have been locked overnight, Howe said.
One town resident, Michelle Welks, told Parks & Rec at its July meeting that she’s a new pickleball player and “I was one of the players who was playing early in the mornings because I work full-time.”
“The pickleball courts in Mead Park are beautiful and … there is a group of us New Canaan residents that work full-time and the 6:30 to 8 a.m. was a great time,” she said. “I didn’t know that there were any noise complaints. We’ve been playing for months.”
Commission Chair George Benington noted that there are condominiums located in proximity to the pickleball courts at Mead.
“We have to be respectful of our neighbors,” he said.