Council Approves Academy Pickleball Court Bid

by | Jan 23, 2024

Above: The design for two new pickleball courts and a rebuilt basketball court at Academy Field. 

The Town Council Monday night awarded a bid of $319,850 to Narragansett Improvement Company for construction of two pickleball courts and a rebuilt basketball court at Academy Field. These would be the town’s first pickleball courts. The project would take one of the basketball courts currently at Academy and replace it with two pickleball courts. The other basketball court would be resurfaced and given new hoops. Benches will also be installed.

Money for the project will come from a $100,000 state recreation grant received by the town in 2022, plus $103,000 from the town parks impact fund and $117,00 from the town unassigned capital fund.

According to Community Services Director Andy Wade, the town got three bids but the lowest bid – for $306,000 from Hartford Paving – was disqualified due to failure to show experience in building athletic courts. The third bid was considerably higher, at $487,500, from J.H. Lynch & Sons.

Construction could begin in the spring.

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Barbara Judd
Barbara Judd
January 24, 2024 10:50 am

This is nice for the town but…..it would have been more financially friendly to turn one or more of the tennis courts on Frenchtown Rd into Pickleball courts. Less invasive to the surrounding neighbors, plenty of parking, beautiful area to play in and cooler in the summer months being out in a country setting.

Heather
Heather
January 24, 2024 11:08 am
Reply to  Barbara Judd

How would it be more financially friendly? The same work still needs to be done. The cost would be the same. People already meet at academy for pickle ball. Seniors from the Swift center walk over and use it as well. It’s a no brainer.

Joe
Joe
January 24, 2024 11:19 am

Yet another misguided decision by the Town Council and leadership.

Rather than add value and a new pickleball facility to the unused scrub grass between the existing courts and Spring Street, they are REMOVING a well used facility (basketball courts) instead.

The noise difference between pickleball placement to the three houses across the street will be minimal, yet the impact on multiple generations of kids who have used those courts to draw chalk, hopscotch, learn to ride bikes, and play basketball is maximal.

Just like they are trying to remove the only school from the Hill, Andy Nota, Andy Wade and the Council are removing the largest, safe, flat, paved area with no cars on the Hill. The recreation fun and safety of our children is needless put at risk by this decision.

There is space to ADD the pickleball courts without REMOVING the basketball court. Why would it be done any other way?!

Joe
Joe
January 24, 2024 6:03 pm

agree – half the basketball courts are being removed. The large, open, paved surface is being bisected by a fence. All while there is space to ADD the pickleball courts just a few feet away.

why take when more could be added.

Amanda
Amanda
January 24, 2024 8:15 pm
Reply to  Joe

I agree with you that the paved area should remain open the way it is as a multi-use court. But I do not agree that adding pickle ball courts to the open grassy area along Spring Street is a good decision. I am one of the people that lives right there and the pickleball noise is already very loud when they play on the existing multi-use courts. To add pickleball courts crammed into that small area surrounded just steps away from our homes would be a major disruption for those of us who live right here. The impact to our lives would not be minimal as you stated. Those of us who live here value that small buffer of space between us and the activities at the field so much. I think Academy Field is the wrong place for these pickleball courts in general. The multi-use courts are great as they are.

Joe
Joe
January 24, 2024 9:36 pm
Reply to  Amanda

Agreed – the noise difference is going to minimal but the impact to the kids in future will be great. Disagree they wouldn’t be “squeezed in” along spring street – there would have been space for FOUR pickleball courts

Original point that the town missed the mark here and could have made positive use of otherwise wasted space instead of subtracting from an already positive space is valid. The “noise” impact to immediate neighbors isn’t any different between the two locations — and, no offense, decisions should be made to benefit the greatest number of town residents, not just those across the street.

Amanda
Amanda
January 24, 2024 11:07 pm
Reply to  Joe

We actually had a special meeting w Town leadership in charge of this project and roughly fifty residents of this neighborhood showed up to oppose paving over the “unused” grassy area. It wasn’t just the few of us who live right here who didn’t like the idea. That grass is used all day every day. Kids playing, people walking dogs, Boy Scout activities and more. We don’t have many open spaces here and we want to protect the green space as much as we can.

Pickleball is a surprisingly noisy sport. Just google ‘Pickleball noise’ and a slew of articles will come up from areas all around the country where the courts are being put too close to residents and causing all kinds of problems.

I respect your opinion though and it seems we do agree that the existing courts should stay as is. I just don’t think the existing grassy areas of the historic Academy Field should be developed over for any reason. I think this is just the wrong project for this space in general. Trying to fit too much into a small area.

Erik Wilcox
Erik Wilcox
January 25, 2024 9:52 am
Reply to  Joe

I am blown away by the amount of people that choose to move downtown and immediately complain about the noise. I live on the wrong side(hill & hood) of main street so the issue for our neighbors is the live music in the summer. One would be pleasantly surprised what they could fetch for their home if they’re better suited for the western part of town or Del Boca Vista. It is much cheaper (per sq ft) to live in other parts of this town if you don’t care for the noise. Many of us have chosen to live here. We want to be in a lively neighborhood where music can be heard, where geriatrics can enjoy there pickleball and millennials born on third base can keep their bars open after hours…….maybe I could do without that last one.

Amanda
Amanda
January 25, 2024 11:39 am
Reply to  Erik Wilcox

I agree with you it is pretty silly when people move downtown and complain about the noise. I’ve always lived in urban areas so I love the activity. I just want to make it clear that those of us who opposed to the original pickle ball court plan are not complaining about the existing noise at all. We moved in next to a park so we knew there would be activities taking place there and background noise. We love the concerts and all of the activities at the park that we can hear from our home. The only thing we were opposed to is paving over the open grassy area and moving the Pickleball courts literally steps from our bedroom windows. It is a surprisingly noisy sport to hear the ping ping pinging all day long would be a pretty dramatic change to our quality of life and could even detract from property values. No one could blame us for protecting our peace and privacy. I’m sure anyone else would do the same if they were in our position. I think it is also important from an environmental standpoint for us to protect open green space in the area. We don’t have many open spaces in this part of town so to develop over any open area would be a big loss for us here.

Carolyn
Carolyn
January 26, 2024 12:11 pm
Reply to  Amanda

Agreed. So silly when people move downtown or into a densely populated neighborhood and complain about the noise. Those people don’t usually stay. Funny, many are not newcomers and have been there decades with no complaints about existing noise. I’ve found you have to like people, your neighbors and noise to be happy living there. We moved to Spring Street because of the field’s activities: fall soccer, spring baseball, sledding on the hill, summer concerts and basketball outside all year long. Those are great social benefits along with all the noise and activity that comes with it. Using a grant to promote access to green space by paving over said green space for pickleball? HA! As to why it can’t be built in other areas of the town, part of grant application criteria is it must be a densely populated area, ie. Academy Field. Still a great location, enjoy it while it lasts.

Joe
Joe
January 28, 2024 9:26 am
Reply to  Amanda

Sounds like you’re complaining about the noise. “Steps from bedroom windows” is across the street. You also live across the street from huge academy field – a large open space (that used to be a campus) that’s not being developed.

The argument is a failing one.

Chris R.
Chris R.
January 25, 2024 9:00 am

The pickleballification of America and EG continues. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop.

TAG
TAG
January 28, 2024 8:53 am

“Noise.” Always a factor when choosing to live close to any downtown area. Having lived in downtown Newport both as a renter and an owner for years I knew the deal.

There will be always be a collective group that will voice complaints of what is currently occupying an area; and in turn an another group that will have concerns about proposed plans.

In the case of Newport, the original Newport Yachting Center used to hold events throughout the year – a variety of festivals, skating in the winter, as well as solid summer music and comedy acts. The summer series in the tent became an issue for some local residents because of the “late” ending of some of these events (10 p.m.).

Licenses were pulled and the area now is another hotel, restaurant and an upgraded marina. Be careful of what you wish for.

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