Tags Posts tagged with "Pickleball"

Pickleball

Without remediation, the clubhouse at the Port Jefferson Country Club may fall off the bluff within years. File photo by Raymond Janis

During a public meeting at Village Hall on Monday, July 18, Mayor Margot Garant presented to the board of trustees the options for the upland projects to stabilize the East Beach Bluff.

The Port Jefferson Country Club, a village-owned property, is now at risk of losing its clubhouse as coastal erosion has withered away the bluff. Without remediation, the clubhouse is likely to fall off the cliff within years.

Proposals to address the problem have been hotly contested by the public, with one faction favoring preserving the clubhouse and the other favoring a retreat plan. During the meeting, the mayor presented the board with both options, outlining the logistics and some of the expected costs for each.

The upper wall

The first option is a 47-foot-deep steel wall between the clubhouse and the edge of the cliff. This wall would be capped by timber, which Garant said would be safer, cheaper and more aesthetically appealing than a concrete cap.

To slow further erosion, the plans include extensive revegetation of the bluff. This would also avert additional expenses related to drainage.

“When this is installed with all of that vegetation, you’re not going to need any more drainage because that wall will become a stopgap and the vegetation will just soak everything up,” Garant said.

The conceptual layout of the planned design also accommodates two regulation-size tennis courts along with three pickleball courts.

Garant said this project would be approached in two phases. The first phase involves a section of wall aimed at preserving the clubhouse, while the second involves an extension of the wall for racket sports amenities.

Still without hard figures on the expected cost of the wall, Garant recommended that the board move forward with exploring this option. “I recommend putting the upper wall out to bid and getting a hard number on that,” she said.

Managed retreat

The alternative proposal involves the demolition of the current clubhouse, immediate installation of a drainage system along the bluff, and the renovation and expansion of The Turn pub and grub facility to accommodate the existing clubhouse operations.

This retreat plan, based on an estimate provided to the mayor, would cost the village approximately $5 million to $6 million.

The board is likely several weeks away from making any decisions on this matter. 

For additional background, see The Port Times Record’s April 7 story, “On the edge: Port Jeff Village weighs the fate of country club.” 

File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

The newly configured Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees held its first public meeting on Tuesday, July 5.

Trustee Lauren Sheprow took her seat alongside her colleagues on the board for the first time. After completing her first full day in office, the trustee discussed ways in which she intends to familiarize herself with the mechanics of the village and learn more about the concerns of her constituents.

“I continue to take information in and I’ll continue to seek information from the residents, not because I am not campaigning anymore but because I am really interested in what they have to say,” she said. 

Sheprow will jump headfirst into her first term of office, already securing two important assignments from Mayor Margot Garant: commissioner of communications and commissioner of recreation. Outlining her rationale behind these appointments, the mayor said she intends to tap into Sheprow’s professional experience in public relations and repurpose those skills in service to the community.

“We put her to work as commissioner of communications [because] we want to put her public relations experience and career to work for us,” Garant said, adding, “And also as commissioner of recreation, so that she can help the recs department and because she was a former member of the recs committee.”

As well, Garant congratulated reelected Trustee Rebecca Kassay, who began her second term this week. 

Kassay reported that she received a request to explore code changes related to the planting of bamboo as the roots of this woody grass can cross property lines and create conflicts between neighbors.

“This would address the planting of new bamboo as well as sort of being more clear about when someone has bamboo and it starts creeping over to another property line,” she said. “This is a big issue as far as property values can go and can help prevent neighborly disputes in the future.” 

Trustee Stan Loucks delivered an extensive report on the status of the recreation department as it enters the height of its busy season. He announced that two tennis courts at the country club have been opened for pickleball and will remain minimally open throughout the summer until construction begins at the East Beach bluff.

“We anticipate that the construction of the lower wall along the bluff will be starting sometime in August or early September and if any part of this construction requires working from the top, in other words, working from those tennis courts, then we’re going to have to close those courts,” he said. Loucks added that East Beach and its parking lot will also be closed off during the construction period.

Although golf membership at the country club has exceeded 630 members this year, Loucks said there are no plans to cap membership. He advised community members that while tee times are scarce between 6 and 11 a.m., there are plenty of remaining slots available after this time frame.

Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden used her report to address an ongoing issue related to the recently renovated public bathrooms at Rocketship Park. According to her, the bathrooms were vandalized just four days after they were opened, prompting the board to enforce a closing time for public use of the facility.

“The conclusion we all came to was that because of the vandalism that happened four days after opening our brand new, expensive bathrooms … it is best to keep them closed at 7 p.m. and to have a sign to say that they are closed at 7 p.m. due to the vandalism that is occurring,” she said. This signage will assure that the public knows “when they’re closed and why they’re closed.”

Snaden also informed the public that the village has renewed its intermunicipal agreement with the Port Jefferson School District to allow constables on school grounds. She added that the roadway closure at the intersection of Route 25A and Arlington Avenue remains ongoing.

Garant recognized the village employees who worked to facilitate a smooth election day last month. She also acknowledged all of the candidates who ran for the village board and commended them for their continued commitment to the service of the village.

“I thank you for your involvement, for engaging, for getting out and knocking on the doors,” the mayor said. “You make a difference and we hope that you stay engaged.”

Garant also highlighted the monumental act of heroism on the part of a group of Port Jeff high school graduates. As reported on June 30 in The Port Times Record, these grads left their high school commencement ceremony to help extinguish a fire on Arlington Avenue.

“Brave is not even the word,” Garant said. “Community service is an understatement. … This really says what Port Jefferson is all about.” She added, “The fact that we do have a fire department that helps train our kids and that they are ready to serve under any circumstances is just absolutely amazing and encouraging and amazing to me.”

With 4.8 million participants nationwide, pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in the United States, says Stu Upson, CEO of USA Pickleball. File photo from Pixabay

Pickleball, a nationwide recreational phenomenon, has made its way to Port Jefferson village.

On Tuesday, May 10, village residents will be offered the opportunity to learn about pickleball and try it out for themselves. Trustee Stan Loucks said the pickleball village initiative is finally materializing. 

“Pickleball has been on my agenda for about four years,” he said in a phone interview. “We have a clinic planned for May 10 at 6 o’clock that we’re advertising, and registration is through the village recreation department.” 

Loucks described pickleball as a combination of several racket sports in one. Unlike tennis, pickleball is played within a much smaller area, which has a lower impact on the body. “It’s also a sport that the elderly can play,” he said.

Loucks was first introduced to pickleball in Florida, where he said he spends a good portion of his time. There, he noticed a surge in pickleball’s popularity and sought to bring this activity to the village. 

 “The reason I picked pickleball is because if we use the area that we have left over at the country club, those upper [tennis] courts, I can put six pickleball courts there,” the trustee said. “We don’t have room for tennis up there right now and we thought we could put a pickleball complex up there.” He added, “It is a sport that has exploded nationwide. It’s a matter of popularity, expense, room, and it’s an advantage that all ages can play.”

History of pickleball

TBR News Media contacted Stu Upson, CEO of USA Pickleball, for an exclusive interview. He shared the history of the sport dating back nearly six decades.

“Pickleball started in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington [state] — just across from Seattle — by three families who were there for the summer,” Upson said in a phone interview. “The kids were antsy and bored, so they created the game of pickleball on their driveway.”

From there, the sport grew throughout the Pacific Northwest, becoming more popular over time. Upson noted it was particularly popular throughout warmer climates.

“Over time, it really grew in the Sun Belt,” he said. “It’s huge in Florida, California and Arizona.” Addressing the demographics that gravitated to the sport initially, Upson added, “It was a more popular sport among seniors who wanted to remain active and probably had played tennis a lot. Tennis was a little difficult for them to continue to play because it’s harder on the body.”

Within the last five years, Upson observed a boom in the number of picklers throughout the country. “It was growing 20% per year before the pandemic, but when COVID shut the world down, the sport really took off because it was so easy to play.” He added, “Even since the pandemic, the sport has continued to skyrocket and is now the country’s fastest growing sport with now 4.8 million people playing it.”

When asked to explain the rise of pickleball, Upson said it was the sport’s relative simplicity that made the difference.

“It’s easy to play, but it’s also easy to learn,” he said. “You can get out on the court and if you have any basic hand-eye coordination, especially if you have experience playing another racket sport, you can go out on a pickleball court and, within an hour or so, be confident and not embarrass yourself.”

Rules and regulations

While pickleball may look similar to other racket sports, it is governed by its own unique set of rules and scoring procedures. “The scoring is different from tennis,” Upson said. “It’s a much smaller court which is about the same size as a paddle-tennis court,” adding, “In fact, you can fit four pickleball courts in the area of one tennis court.”

Also distinguishing pickleball from its racket sport counterparts is the style in which it is played. Unlike tennis, a pickleball is served underhand. Additionally, the game follows a service-scoring format, meaning points can only be earned while one is serving the pickleball. Games are usually played to 11 points, according to Upson.

The mission of USA Pickleball is to grow the sport,” he said. “As the national governing body, we also sanction tournaments, set the rules of the game, approve all the equipment — the paddles and balls — and we hold tournaments around the country.”

Trustee Stan Loucks has been working for over four years to bring pickleball to the village of Port Jefferson. His vision is now becoming reality. Photo from the Village of Port Jefferson website

Future of the sport

Part of Pickleball USA’s efforts include appealing to the International Olympic Committee for formal recognition at the Olympics. Realistically, pickleball will not be recognized for at least another 12 years.

“We want to help grow the sport internationally and would love for it to be recognized by the IOC and be a part of the Olympic Games at some point, but that’s quite a few years down the road,” Upson said. 

At the local level, there is a growing demand for the sport throughout Port Jeff. “We now have a waiting list,” Loucks said. “We have so many people that have enrolled that we can’t accommodate all of them.” He added, “The demand is there. I think we’re going to have more people that want to play than we’re going to have room for.”

Loucks said programs such as the May 10 clinic are designed to introduce prospective picklers. He emphasized the importance of the upcoming clinic, saying, “I’d like to see the local readers show up at our May 10 pickleball clinic at Texaco Park. It’s free and we will have rackets available. For anyone who shows up, we will try to get them on the court. If we can’t accommodate that many people on the courts, they certainly will see the game being played and receive an awful lot of information about the sport.”

File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

On Monday, April 18, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Port Jefferson gathered for an afternoon business meeting.

Mayor Margot Garant announced the withdrawal of a scheduled public hearing regarding the revocation of the operating license of the Curry Club at SaGhar. The mayor cited a recent development between the village and the proprietor, mentioning that the two parties have come to terms.

“The Curry Club at SaGhar is coming into compliance,” the mayor said. “They complied with all of our requests not to apply for nightclub status and … pretty much everything we asked for.”

In her report, Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden said the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Class of 1982 has applied to use the Village Center for its upcoming class reunion, requesting a reduced rate. The board moved to accept this request, contending that the measure will promote greater use of the facility and will set a precedent for future classes to book their reunions locally. A graduate of the Class of ’82, Garant recused herself from this vote.

The board also announced that both Texaco Park and the village basketball courts will now accommodate pickleball instruction. Garant considered this a “wildly popular program” throughout the village. Snaden concurred, and also reported that the Texaco program will provide a free clinic for incoming picklers that is designed to introduce village residents to the sport. 

Trustee Stan Loucks announced that lines will soon be put down at Texaco Park to support the planned pickleball campus. He added, “Hopefully, down the road, pickleball will be someplace else,” leaving open the possibility that pickleball at Texaco Park will be only a temporary measure.

Trustee Bruce Miller shared his notes from two guest presentations delivered during an April 13 meeting of the Port Jefferson Harbor Commission. 

During Trustee Rebecca Kassay’s report, a robust debate ensued on the future of short-term versus long-term rental property codes. The subject was tabled for a later time as more information will be necessary for the board to settle the matter.

Correction: On April 21, The Port Times Record stated, “Trustee Rebecca Kassay reported that the village’s Arbor Day festivities are scheduled for Friday, April 29, when free saplings from the Saratoga Tree Nursery will be made available.” In an email, Kassay clarified this: “We indeed confirmed that Arbor Day is April 29th, but I stated that the saplings are not yet ready from the DEC nursery. I reported that as soon as I have a pick-up date for the saplings, I’d let everyone know … Additionally, the saplings will only be free to the first grade class; we will be selling them for $1 at the Farmer’s Market, date TBA.”

by -
0 1050
Lanscaping for new pickleball courts is already underway at the Port Jefferson Country Club. Photo by Kyle Barr

Pickleball is on the plate for the Port Jefferson Country Club, and while bids still have to come in, village officials said courts in the village proper that were previously considered are currently off the table.

In previous years, some residents called for pickleball courts at other places in the village. Local Port Jeffersonite Myrna Gordon was one who pleaded for such a sport to be accessible in the village. 

She said restricting the courts to the country club has severely limited the number of people who could use them.

“Most people don’t realize that we stand alone up there.”

— Stan Loucks

“Why would you charge village residents for this recreational program?” she said in an email. “No fees should be charged to any village resident for use of the now being built pickleball courts.”

Landscaping has already started at the country club just west of the tennis courts on the left-hand side of The Waterview building. Despite calling the landscaping and removal of bushes and trees “environmental devastation,” she asked why there wasn’t more consideration for a pickleball court next to the basketball courts near Rocketship Park or in the Texaco Avenue Park in Upper Port.

Stan Loucks, the vice mayor and liaison to the country club, said in a phone interview Jan. 24 that the village originally intended to modify the basketball court off of Barnum Avenue and paint lines for pickleball with removable nets available for certain times when not being used for basketball. However, that idea came under “considerable opposition” from people who wanted it to be maintained for children’s use.

Gordon had been one of those critics, writing in a letter to the editor it was “eliminating a space where culturally diverse people come to play pick-up games,” adding the space was already highly utilized. She instead asked why pickleball could not be built next to the basketball courts, but Loucks responded, saying space was a major consideration.

Gordon, in previous letters to the Port Times Record and in talks to the village board, had suggested placing the court structure at the Texaco Avenue Park, which was recently constructed along with the neighboring parking lot. 

Loucks said there was no room for such a court at the park, and it would also take redrawing up plans that were already approved.

The penned-in court complex going in at the country club is measured out to be 64 by 116 feet for three pickleball courts, though a normal-sized, regulation court is only measured at 20 by 44 feet. The Texaco park contains a small play set and basketball court, along with a walking path and some spare seating.

“No fees should be charged to any village resident for use of the now being built pickleball courts.”

— Myrna Gordon

Pickleball is cited as one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S., according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. It’s played on a smaller court than tennis and uses paddles instead of rackets to volley a plastic ball back and forth across asphalt courts.

Bids are supposed to come back for the pickleball courts Feb. 6, and potential contractors have already done a walk-through of the property. Loucks is waiting for those bids to come back on a project that could cost anywhere between $85,000 and $128,000, which also includes partially completed landscaping at the country club, at a cost of several thousand to the club itself.

The rest of the funds, the trustee said, would have to be bonded for. Most likely, since the country club cannot issue bonds, the village would apply for the bond and then the country club would use its funds to pay it off. A similar agreement was worked out when the country club installed a new irrigation system for the golf course, which cost around $2 million, or just over the total amount of the club’s entire yearly budget.

The pickleball courts, Loucks said, are a way of hopefully generating more revenue for the country club.

“Most people don’t realize that we stand alone up there,” he said. “We’re trying to make end’s meet — we’re hoping pickleball brings in some additional revenue.”

The annual Run the Farm 4-mile challenge. File photo

The summer activities series in the Town of Brookhaven’s 3rd Council District have been announced.

The events, presented by Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) and the town’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Sports and Cultural Resources, start with a pickleball tournament in June and end with the fourth annual Run the Farm 4-mile challenge in August.

“Spring is here and summer is just around the corner,” LaValle said. “After the winter we had, I am pleased to join with the parks department to present these great outdoor family events and urge everyone to participate.”

Centereach Pool is located at 286 Hawkins Road in Centereach. Image from Google Maps

Upcoming summer activities:

Pickleball tournaments: A spring tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3, and a fall tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Centereach Pool Complex pickleball courts, located at 286 Hawkins Road in Centereach.

• Participants must bring their own paddle and water

• Balls provided

• Must preregister to participate 

• For more information or to register, call 631-451-6133

Hoops for military heroes: Saturday, July 21 — rain date scheduled for Saturday, July 28 — at the Centereach Pool Complex located at 286 Hawkins Road in Centereach.

• Free event (T-shirts, snacks, prizes)

• $15 suggested donation per team

• All funds raised will be donated to local veterans organizations

• Preregistration is required at www.BrookhavenNY.gov/Basketball 

• Age brackets for boys and girls are as follows: 12- and 13-year-olds sign in at 9 a.m. with a 10 a.m. start time for games; 14- and 15-year-olds sign in at 11 a.m. with a noon start time; and 16- and 17-year-olds sign in at 1 p.m. with a 1:30 p.m. start time.

The annual Run the Farm 4-mile challenge benefits Ann Pelegrino’s Bethel Hobbs Community Farm. File photo

National Night Out: Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Centereach Pool Complex located at 286 Hawkins Road in Centereach.

Co-sponsored with the Suffolk County Police Department’s 6th Precinct, the free, annual event promotes police and community partnerships to make local neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. It’s an
evening of summer fun activities and free outdoor swimming for the entire family.

Run the Farm 4-mile challenge: The fourth annual event of this local race will be held Saturday, Aug. 18, at Bethel Hobbs Community Farm, located at 178 Oxhead Road in Centereach.

Athletes can lace up their sneakers and traverse a 4-mile course on roughly 2 miles of flat terrain followed by 1 mile of rolling hills and two mildly challenging ascents before concluding at the historic
grounds of Bethel Hobbs Community Farm. The event benefits the farm, a nonprofit that has the mission of being devoted to servicing local food pantries and food programs.

• USA Track and Field sanctioned event

• Start time is 9 a.m.

• For more information or to register, call 631-451-6647 or email [email protected]

• Or, visit the town’s website at www.brookhavenny.gov/runthefarm or www.start2finish.com

The village has scaled back a plan to stripe its basketball courts for pickleball after one resident said it would be a big dill to hoops players. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Village officials are making a compromise to avoid a pickle.

The basketball courts at Rocketship Park in downtown Port Jefferson were due for a redo, and while a Long Island company was repairing the court surface, village Trustee Stan Loucks had arranged for workers to also add stripes for people to play pickleball when the four hoops were not being used. But that plan has changed.

Pickleball is a sport that involves paddles and a net and has similarities to tennis and badminton. Officials added pickleball striping at the basketball courts at the park, between Barnum Avenue and the municipal parking lot behind Village Hall, to other work — which included repairing cracks, and dips in the surface that attract puddles — to embrace the growing sport trend.

But one resident was half-soured on the idea of basketball players potentially turning green with envy as they lost out on court time while others were playing pickleball.

Myrna Gordon called the courts a spot that “attracts many people from surrounding communities” in a letter to the editor last month, an opinion she also expressed to Loucks in person during board of trustees meetings in recent months.

“Culturally diverse people come to play pick-up games,” she wrote. “Converting this area for dual purposes would be an especially negative act when there are alternative sites for pickleball in the village.”

Gordon has suggested using the park on Texaco Avenue in uptown Port Jefferson, across from the upcoming apartment complex, for pickleball to avoid taking away court time downtown and to potentially attract people to the blighted uptown area.

Loucks announced at the board meeting on Monday that the pickleball proposal would be bumped back to keep ballers cool as cucumbers.

Instead of putting down lines for the sport on the basketball courts at Rocketship, the village is going to start by running a one-hour pickleball program on the court with removable nets and stripes, as a method of gauging resident demand for a venue for the activity.

The program will take place in the middle of the day, while young players are in school, the trustee said.

Village Hall is visible in the background of a basketball court at Rocketship Park. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Basketball players could soon be shooting hoops on a fresh surface in downtown Port Jefferson.

Village officials have approved a $15,000 proposal to repair the basketball courts at Rocketship Park, between Barnum Avenue and the municipal parking lot behind Village Hall.

“Our basketball courts are in disrepair out back,” Mayor Margot Garant said at the board of trustees meeting on Monday night.

But there is surplus money the village previously set aside, in the event those courts would have to be completely renovated. Instead, work simply needs to be done to repair cracks and “take away what we call the ‘birdbaths,’ or puddles,” she said.

The plan, which the board approved at its meeting, includes putting in lines for pickleball play at the courts. That sport involves paddles and has similarities to tennis and badminton.

Trustee Stan Loucks, who is the board’s liaison to the Port Jefferson Country Club, said the village feels comfortable hiring East Norwich-based Championship Tennis Courts LLC to do the basketball court project because that same company has done work on the country club’s tennis courts for the last five years.

“They do a terrific job,” Loucks said.