LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Pickleball, one of the fastest-growing sports in America, could be making its way to Lewisboro, with new courts replacing the old and crumbling tennis courts at the Town Park on Route 35. The courts, which were built in the 1990s, have fallen into disrepair, mostly due to the asphalt cracking and re-cracking over time.
“Because it’s on the mountain, there’s just a lot of cracking,” said Dana Mayclim, the superintendent of Parks and Recreation. “Last summer, they were deemed unplayable, so we closed them.”
The Parks and Recreation Department has spoken to a new contractor who believes he can solve the cracking problem and lay down the pickleball courts. According to the May 7 Town Board meeting, $116,000 is available to the department between a subdivision fund and the Verizon cell tower fund, a portion of which could be used to build pickleball courts.
“It’s just basically getting the board’s blessing,” Mayclim said. “Telling them that there’s a demand and letting them know what revenue potential they can expect from it. So it really depends on whether they want to fund something else with that money or if they want to run with pickleball.”
The rumblings for the return of pickleball began during Town Supervisor Peter Parsons’s most recent campaign. Going door to door, he began speaking to residents, many of whom expressed a desire to see the sport brought to Lewisboro.
“A lot of the residents who are snowbirds that go down to Florida and have returned for the summer are really the ones driving it,” Mayclim said. “They play all winter down there and they don’t want to stop when they get back up here.”
A fusion of badminton, tennis and ping pong, Pickleball began on Bainbridge Island, Wash., in 1965 when Joel Pritchard (later the lieutenant governor of Washington) and some friends improvised the game by batting a Wiffle Ball over a badminton net with makeshift plywood paddles. In the last half-century, the sport has grown in popularity, with membership in the USA Pickleball Association growing 64 percent since 2010. Additionally, the number of courts springing up around the country has increased by 385 percent in that time frame. In the region, the sport is catching on, with Bedford and Ridgefield already putting courts in their parks.
Mayclim says that residents hope that Lewisboro soon follows suit.
“They’re looking for places to play,” she said, “and they really feel that we should be bringing it to the community.”