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07/13/2016

Fort Williams courts reserved for tennis or pickleball on alternate weekday mornings

The lower courts at Fort Williams Park will be reserved for pickleball on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and for tennis mornings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Town Council on July 11, 2016 adopted the short-term compromise for use of the courts proposed by an ad hoc committee earlier this spring. The committee, which included members of the Fort Williams Advisory Commission and Community Services Advisory Commission, met in April to work out a solution to competing uses of the courts.

"In the end it was agreed that the following recommendation would be made to the Town Council for a short-term solution:

  • The lower courts at Fort Williams will be reserved primarily for tennis M/W/F until 11 am.
  • The lower courts at Fort Williams will be reserved primarily for pickle ball Tu/Th until 11 am ... "

The court-sharing solution will serve as a pilot for one year. "If it doesn't work out, we'll come back with other issues," said Town Manager Michael McGovern. The recommendation also calls for painting the lower courts for both tennis and pickleball, in shades and colors that do not cause confusion.

Longer term, the committee recommends converting an existing basketball court, next to a second tennis court near the picnic shelter, into a court for pickleball. "This would mean enlarging the fence area around both courts and creating a new tennis court in place of the old basketball court and lining the new court for pickleball," the committee recommendation says.

"This would in essence create four multi-use courts (four tennis, eight pickleball)."

Councilors unanimously approved and lauded the compromise. "This issue came to the Fort Williams Advisory Commission, and so members ... volunteered to get together with members of the tennis community and the pickleball community to collaboratively come up with some solutions," said Councilor Jessica Sullivan. "They did a very good job," she said.

The basketball court reconstruction was referred to the town manager to consider as part of the town's ongoing capital improvement plan.

Tennis/Pickleball Recommendation:

In the end it was agreed that the following recommendation would be made to the Town Council for a short-term solution.

• The lower courts at Fort Williams will be reserved primarily for tennis M/W/F until 11 am.
• The lower courts at Fort Williams will be reserved primarily for pickle ball Tu/Th until 11 am
• That signage will be added to the courts to convey the above expectations
• That when the lower courts get repainted this summer that the pickle ball lines be placed on the tennis court with such a color to help minimize confusion (see USTA suggestion of similar color to court only shaded)

In addition, the following is being suggested as a long-term solution.
• Rehab the existing basketball court near the upper tennis court. This would mean enlarging the fence area around both courts and creating a new tennis court in place of the old basketball court and lining the new court for pickle ball. This would in essence create 4 multi-use courts (4 tennis, 8 pickle ball).