BERLIN – Pickleball lines will be added to the tennis courts at Stephen Decatur Park.
On Tuesday, the Berlin Town Council voted unanimously to allow local nonprofit We Heart Berlin to move forward with plans to add pickleball lines to the courts at Decatur Park. The nonprofit raised $3,500 to fund the project.
“Without the help of folks like We Heart Berlin projects like this would probably be years in the making,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said.
Tony Weeg of We Heart Berlin told the council he was approached by someone who wanted to make a donation toward having the park’s tennis courts striped for pickleball.
“We know pickleball is a big sport that’s growing rapidly,” Weeg said.
He said pickleball players were already using the courts, marking the lines for pickleball with chalk. Weeg said he talked to some players to see what would help them be able to play better that wouldn’t have a negative impact on tennis players.
“Rather than taking one of our courts or two of our courts and converting it so it was only pickleball or only tennis, we figured why not paint all four so you can have both games on all the courts,” he said.
He noted the courts already have junior tennis lines that didn’t seem to bother anyone.
“Everyone can coexist harmoniously there,” he said.
He added that the town might want to install signage in case use of the courts picked up.
“It might get busy so we might want to think about putting signs up that say if there are people waiting please limit your game to 20 minutes,” Weeg said.
He said the painting of the lines and the possible addition of signage would be the only changes at the park.
Mike Wiley, chair of the parks commission, said people had approached him in support of the concept. Commission member Laura Stearns asked if the lines would be distracting for tennis players.
“The junior tennis lines aren’t,” Weeg said. “They’ve been there. If they’re the same sort of muted blue color you really won’t even notice.”
Councilman Jay Knerr, one of those who donated to the effort to paint the lines, said he’d seen lines added to tennis courts elsewhere for pickleball players.
The council voted unanimously to approve the addition of lines to the courts. Weeg said that because the painting was weather dependent, he was hoping work could begin within the next 30 days.