The Falmouth Board of Selectmen approved a recreation department application Monday, August 5, for more than $429,000 in Community Preservation Committee funding to rehabilitate the tennis and pickleball courts at Nye Park in North Falmouth.
“The tennis and pickleball courts are in very poor condition. Groups will not play, so hopefully what this will do is to increase the capacity by changing two of the courts into dedicated tennis courts, and one of the courts will be converted to four dedicated pickleball courts. We’ll keep the basketball court and will also have a tennis backboard,” recreation department director Joseph E. Olenick told selectmen.
Limited and shared court space has caused some tension and scheduling issues among tennis and pickleball players throughout Falmouth, Mr. Olenick said.
Pickleball in Falmouth has four groups, with about 70 players in each group. There are also other players not in groups, including summer residents and visitors.
“The Nye Park courts were repaired four years ago, but they are in terrible shape. The repair did not work. Rehabilitation with post-tensioned concrete, which was used at Swift Park and is guaranteed for 25 years, is the best way to go,” Mr. Olenick said.
There are large cracks in the courts, with chipped-away paint and concrete, that leave high and low spots that can cause people to trip and can also collect water. There is even grass growing in some cracks, the recreation director said.
“Unfortunately, the cost of this project is going to be relatively high as compared with what the last couple of rehabs have been—probably $429,485, which is quite substantial. I do hope to look for some other funding to try to help with it, but it is a very important project. I think the town really needs to separate tennis and pickleball so that they can continue to play without the conflicts we’ve had,” he said. “We won’t have to worry about these courts for a very long time if we do this project.”
Pickleball courts add to the cost slightly because they need more fencing. Also, post-tensioned concrete is more expensive than asphalt, but asphalt tends to crack, he said, adding that the recreation department will next look at rehabilitating the tennis courts in Woods Hole.
At the Nye Park courts Wednesday, August 8, cousins Beth Dyer and David Goehringer arrived to play pickleball and had to sweep rain puddles off the court to play. They and other family members have vacationed in North Falmouth for 50 years, and they hope the courts are fixed before they come back next year.
Walking in the parking lot with her dog Wednesday, Lori S. Higgins of Megansett has been coming to the courts for 50 years. She used to teach tennis for the Falmouth Parks Department on those courts. Her parents played there, and her kids now do.
“We feel it’s dangerous and sad. These courts are heavily used, and we’d like to have a safe place to play,” she said.
A member of Megansett Yacht Club, Ms. Higgins said the club used to hold tennis tournaments at the Nye Park courts but has recently had to go elsewhere.