Hill Neighbors Oppose New Pickleball Court Plan

by | Jul 27, 2022

Above: Right now, pickleball players set up a portable net on the basketball courts at Academy, just as this foursome did on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

The town got a state grant for 2 new courts on Academy Field

Some residents of the Hill neighborhood, including several direct abutters of Academy Field, have registered their displeasure with the town’s plan to build two new pickleball courts next to the two existing basketball courts there.

The town applied for and received two recreation grants last fall – the smaller of the two is for the pickleball courts ($100,000 – $75,000 from the state, $25,000 from the town). The other grant is to redo Eldredge Field and the basketball courts there ($300,000 from the state, $100,000 from the town). You can read about both HERE.

The Town Council approved the grant applications back in November, a necessary step since both require town money to complete. The town learned in May it had gotten both grants. The next step, Community Services Director Andy Wade said at the time, would be to draw up formal plans. The town has two years to complete the projects. 

It was in June that abutting neighbors started to ask questions about the proposal, citing noise, the need to remove trees from the site, and the elimination of green space, among other concerns. Wade told EG News in November the town could move the trees; the plan includes additional trees between the courts and the street. Residents have also cited the plan to erect a chain link fence around the courts, and expressed frustration that they had not been consulted ahead of time. 

The proposal for Academy Field submitted with the DEM grant application would include two new pickleball courts.

In July, they formed Friends of Academy Field (FOAF) and have scheduled a meeting Monday (8/1) in the EGPD Community Room, to which town officials have been invited. 

In a letter to members of the Town Councilors dated July 22, residents Ed and Carolyn Cure, who live on Spring Street nearby the field, said their objections weren’t about pickleball. Rather, they said they didn’t want to lose green space and the trees there, and they expressed concerns over pickleball decibel levels in a dense neighborhood like the Hill. Pickleball is played on the basketball courts now. The courts have pickleball lines and players will bring their own nets. Dedicated pickleball courts would likely be more inviting to players and, if they are built according to the original application, would be closer to residences than the basketball courts.

Wade said this week he was looking forward to the meeting Monday with the intent to provide clarity. 

“We are looking at options…. I think it’s important to understand the entire time the plan that’s being passed around and discussed was a conceptual one. Once we get the award, we revisit the site and all the factors.” 

He added, “A lot of things have happened since that application…. We want to be good neighbors.”

The meeting Monday night at the EGPD Community Room begins at 5 p.m. 

Author’s note: While not an abutter, I live a block away from Academy Field.

Read more:

Town Awarded $500,000 for Eldredge, Academy Changes

Softball Field at Eldredge, Pickleball Courts for Academy?

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12 Comments

  1. Bruce

    AAHH. Pickleball. The adult version of skateboard activity. According to a U-80 player from Florida, the noise alone will drive you crazy,
    Is there not room in Frenchtown ? How about in the woods beyond the baseball fields at EGHS? Scalloptown Park, where quahaugs and seagulls can act as spectators ?
    Not against the game and seniors reliving their ‘Glory Days”. Just think you could find a place away from people who do not want to hear the plop, plop, plop. They say it could drive you crazy.

    Reply
    • David Westell

      Ok why are we redoing Eldredge field again? I understand the need for the basketball courts to be redone and reconfigured but the last time we did anything at Eldredge we made it more dangerous to play baseball with the steep decline down first base not to mention a concrete walkway that makes no sense. And now we want to redesign the field? Why? I’ve heard that they are planning on skinning the infield and taking away the uniqueness of the grass infield. Also speculation that the high school Girls Softball team was going to play night games there because there is no concession stands or bathrooms at the high school. Does anyone realize that the concessions at Eldredge were not built to code and can’t be used? Or that the bathrooms at Eldredge are atrocious? Or maybe that it’s all ready used three nights a week by the EG Mens Softball League that’s been playing there since the early ’70s? Not to mention the fact that IF the Girls team played games there that they would by law and the Interscholastic League be required to take bus transportation to and from the high school for their own home games? I’m not opposed to pickleball courts or even the redesigning of Eldredge but it seems to me that an awful lot more thought ought to have gone into these things before just rubber-stamping these projects.
      Perhaps all these things should have been done before applying for grants that we now have but also have an expiration date to use.
      Seen it way to many times you apply for and receive funds for not so well thought out projects (PLEASE let me add with all good intentions) and now there is a rush to complete them. Case in point, the last project at Eldredge say 30 years or so ago with a steep decline, concrete walkway no one uses and drainage grates that need to be covered so nobody steps on them and breaks a leg playing a silly game.
      I’m not a not-in-my-neighborhood kind of person but it should be looked into throughly before proceeding. In all honesty there are already basketball courts at Academy Field and it’s not like they are playing pickleball after dark so I don’t think someone’s bedroom has much validity in any discussion. Unless they are also installing lights as part of the project.
      Can’t wait to see just how this project works out.

      Reply
      • Amanda Galmiche

        I mentioned bedroom windows because the paddle sound from pickleball echos for blocks through the neighborhood and can be heard indoors even with windows closed. It’s a very intrusive sound to hear all day every day.

        Reply
  2. J.a

    What about the abutting neighbors of Providence Oyster Bar. The disruption there involves car, traffic, alcohol, inebriated patrons.
    Let’s celebrate and encourage people to be physically active during daytime hours-and focus the towns attention on looking into valet parking to get these cars out of Providence Oyster Bars abutting neighbors front windows!

    Reply
    • SC

      These aren’t intertwined (or even remotely related) “either or” issues. Residents can rightly be concerned about parking issues and about also pickle-ball nuisance. Both are legitimate issues that affect resident quality of life that need attention from the town.

      Reply
    • Tom T

      Oh, you mean the same problems the Hill & Harbour residents have been dealing with for years?

      Reply
  3. Amanda Galmiche

    If you google “pickleball Noise” a slew of articles comes up about other towns & cities where it has caused major issues for residents near courts. In many cases much further away from homes than these ones are proposed to be. Plunking down courts in the middle of a quiet residential area just steps from people’s homes is completely inappropriate. Glad to hear the town is considering altering the original plan. Pickle ball is a great activity! Just not steps from someone’s bedroom window.

    Reply
  4. Carolyn Cure

    Good neighbors, especially in a dense residential neighborhood, have to be considerate, communicate openly and look out for each other’s best interests as well as their own to get along well.

    Reply
  5. Westside EG

    Downtown is where those should go. People suggest Frenchtown areas but we don’t want to be around people or noise so we live up here in the woods. I don’t believe they are installing lights on the courts so no worry about noise at night. A pickle ball is not louder than a basketball so I don’t see any issue further than neighbors not wanting construction near their homes. If they want to cancel the pickle ball courts and instead build sidewalks on Frenchtown, Middle, Carrs Pond roads, that would actually be useful to the town!

    Reply
    • Amanda Galmiche

      The paddle sound in pickleball is actually several times louder than a basketball or tennis. You can hear it from over a block away. It would drive you mad if you had to hear it day in and day out. Currently they play pickleball a few yards away from the houses- which is already loud, but we are used to it so no big deal. What we don’t want is for the courts to be moved even closer to our houses… literally 20 steps from our front doors.

      Reply
  6. Alison Wallace

    There seems to be more suitable locations for a new pickleball court. other areas of town wouldnt cause as much of disturbance. The choice to pave over existing greenspace at academy field lacks vision and common sense.

    Reply
  7. RAY RICCIO

    I’m not a pickle-ball fan by any means but it seems best suited as a street game “neighborhood” like when you put up a basketball hoop on your property, in a driveway, or like where one plays wiffleball or as we did at times play football? I also believe it is just a fad like the hula-hoop for children.

    Even the most ardent handball players at the YMCA abandoned those indoor courts. I can name 3-4 places in EG where handball can be played and it would not cost a dime probably many more neighborhoods/driveways where a pickle-ball court can be set up as on a street and not cost a dime.

    Just makes me wonder how long before weeds start growing out between the cracks of these courts. The courts would be best suited at the Y so those interested can pay for the privilege.

    The town should have if they didn’t already put in volleyball courts and pits. Never seen a court or especially pit that hasn’t attracted a crowd. Could even have a “Lonely Hearts Club” night as the courts on Sandy Lane in Warwick.

    Eldredge does seem to get its share of upgrades but as one who has played tennis on the courts on the Cedar Ave School mainly when was it was a high school however, one thing I always noticed is they just don’t get the traffic/volume? omparatively unlike Sandy Lane a much more coordinated complex.

    Noise honestly it seems some may not know what noise is so I’d suggest come up by Camp Fogarty when the range opens. Surely one will be able to tell the difference between down-range firing, firecrackers, and a pickle-ball.

    However, if the noise is to unbearable daily calls to the police station not only to make the log plenteous and keep EG News readers possibly less likely to spend more time on a pickle-ball court but to put one in a better position for a civil action in a court.

    Reply

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