A group of former Brooklyn pickleball players are looking to add markings to the tennis courts in Marine Park, saying the new lines would support the game which is growing in popularity among older borough residents.
“I would like the marine park to mark their tennis courts, ”said Michael Chaiet, a senior at Marine Park. “That way, the seniors at the senior center could play on a real pitch, and it would be open to people like us who get together, 25 to 30 people, to come and play on the pitch.”
The game of pickleball has exploded among the senior population of Kings County in recent years and incorporates elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. The game requires a group of four players and a court approximately one-quarter the size of a regulation-size tennis court.
A league of 90 participants – which includes the Marine Park Pickleball Associates – is asking the parks department to mark three tennis courts in the park for pickleball, which could accommodate 48 pickleball players at a time, according to one. letter written by Chaiet on behalf of the association.
“Marine Park has 12 tennis courts – 4 rows of 3,” Chaiet wrote. “If the last row of tennis courts were double marked for both sports, that would make 12 pickleball courts, enough to accommodate 48 players. ”
Pickleball players currently use two fields at Dr. John’s Playground in Gerritsen Beach which are in poor condition, according to Chaiet, who argued that the fields at Marine Park would be more accessible for senior players.
“They peel off with the paint and the sidewalk is pitted,” Chaiet said. “It’s a former paddleball court. The concrete is all pitted and there is a big joint going down it. ”
Marking the courts for pickleball does not prevent them from being used for tennis and therefore welcomes more users to the park instead of attracting others, argued the representative of the association.
“Tennis courts are still playable and pickleball is available, just bring your own pickleball nets,” Chaiet wrote. “It would be a great addition to the marine park offering a wider selection of paddle sports. It doesn’t take away from tennis.
The association has been lobbying the Parks Department for dedicated grounds to accommodate seniors for the past two years, but green space honchos have been slow to accommodate borough seniors – even though neighboring Manhattan home to 24 pickleball courts.
“This thing started after I retired about two and a half years ago,” Chaiet said. “The only place I know of in town where pickleball courts have been set up is the UN. In Brooklyn, it’s like a big zero, a big zero effort.
Chaiet pointed to the Fort Hamilton Senior Center in Bay Ridge, where employees have long facilitated an indoor pickleball program and, during the pandemic, quickly switched their junior outdoor tennis courts to pickleball.
“The Carmine Carro Community Center should have the same opportunities for its members as the Fort Hamilton Seniors Center,” the letter said.
To inspire others to get involved in the fast-growing sport, the pickleball association plans to shoot three half-hour videos teaching others to play and will live stream a pickleball clinic on April 16.
When Brooklyn Paper asked for comment, the city’s parks department announced that new pickleball courts would be erected with the reconstruction of the Marine Park PS 278 playground, the design phase of which is expected to be completed in the fall – claiming that the park’s tennis courts are overused. to allow their conversion to pickleball.
“We value feedback from members of our community and are delighted to share that as part of the fully funded reconstruction of the PS 278 Marine Park, pickleball courts are included in the design,” said the Department spokesperson. parks, Anessa Hodgson. “We also painted pickleball courts at the Dr. John’s Playground in the Marine Park to bring this convenience to other parts of the park.”
Update (April 13): The Parks Department previously told Brooklyn Paper that the project was due for completion in the fall, but a spokesperson for the agency then contacted stating that only the design phase of the project had to be completed by then.