NORWALK, Conn. — Pickleball seems to be in demand and Norwalk is providing a supply, with more to come.
Four new pickleball courts have been installed at Woodward Avenue Park and a grand opening Tuesday drew more than 40 people, few of them “usual suspects.” Among them were Kathy Cahill and Bernice “Honey” Friedenthal, who said they live near the Norwalk Senior Center but will be happy to drive to South Norwalk to play the sport they indulge in at least twice a week.
Sometimes the Senior Center gets crowded and “you have to wait two or three games before you can get on the court. I’d rather go someplace where it’s less crowded,” Cahill said.
There are courts at Nathan Hale Middle School but they’re not just for pickleball, the pair said.
Pickleball was invented in 1965, according to US Pickleball. It’s:
- “A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
- “Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net.
- “Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
- “Played as doubles or singles.
- “Can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.”
In November, Norwalk Parks Superintendent Ken Hughes said Woodward Avenue Park would feature the city’s first dedicated pickleball courts. Sport-Tech Construction Corporation got the contract, which also included Matthews Park tennis courts. The two projects totaled about $524,000, he said.
District E Common Council members were always “very adamant” about installing pickleball courts, Recreation and Parks Committee Chairwoman Darlene Young (D-District B) said Tuesday.
“I want to also thank the mayor, for listening to us, right, because that’s part of the job, is to listen to what the constituents want and need in their community,” she said.
“Seemed like every place I went, people were saying, ‘When are we going to get pickleball courts?’” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “…We’re looking for other places to put some more pickleball courts.”
John Moeling, who lives down the street, said the new trees and other improvements at the park are “marvelous.” But, he wondered why the City decided to prohibit dogs. He’s been walking his dog in the park for more than two decades and if there were dog droppings left around, he’d know it. He picks up after his dog and so do other people, he said.
“Taylor Farm Dog Park and the trails at Cranbury Park are the only two parks in the City of Norwalk where dogs are allowed,” Norwalk Director of Communications Michelle Woods Matthews said in an email. “All other parks and school properties do not allow dogs. This is not a new policy, however new signage was recently installed.”