Hell’s Kitchen Park to get new pickleball court, prompting mixed community board reactions

A Parks Division presentation for a renovation challenge at Hell’s Kitchen Park on Thursday evening was a heated referendum on the fashionable racquet sport, pickleball.

The company is concentrating on the park for a largely commonplace renovation challenge, which entails repaving and repainting the courts, excluding one new function — the set up of a brand-new pickleball court docket.

Throughout a presentation of the plan to the Community Board 4 Waterfront Parks and Environmental committee, some members discovered the prospect of pickleball objectionable, prompting a rebuttal from different members of the board who’ve been asking the Parks Division for extra pickleball facilities. It’s one among a series of incidents the place pickleball devotees and allies have squared off with the game’s detractors.

Parks’ plan for the renovation entails changing the asphalt on two worn out apply basketball courts, repainting the park’s handball courts and changing what’s now a volleyball space to a pickleball court docket. The company will set up a six-foot fence to cease stray balls from bouncing between the pickleball and basketball courts.

Community Board 4 member and former Meeting candidate Chris LeBrón was the primary to weigh in towards the new racquet sport, asserting that it could not final the check of time. LeBrón insisted Parks transfer benches that it had deliberate to place across the basketball court docket to the pickleball space as a result of it was not a “mobile sport.”

“What happens when pickleball dies? How quickly can this fence be taken down so that the area can be utilized for an alternative use?” Lebrón demanded.

Shortly after, one other member questioned Parks’ resolution to embrace a pickle ball court docket, suggesting that the game was not amenable to kids.

“There’s a lot of kids in the neighborhood, there’s a lot of schools around here. This is a popular park and I think more utilization for children’s sports would be great,” mentioned committee member Catie Savage

However the preliminary resistance to pickleball was matched by supporters. Leslie Boghosian Murphy, the committee’s co-chair, thanked the division for together with pickleball after members of the committee beforehand determined that there was a necessity for it within the neighborhood.

“The area isn’t just populated by children, it’s mixed people, adults, old people, children and, I think people are asking for pickleball,” added committee member Sally Greenspan.

Katherine Hedden, a zealous Manhattan pickleball advocate who was tuning into the assembly additionally took the chance to defend her sport.

“It’s not a sport where you stand still,” mentioned Hedden, insisting that the courts shouldn’t be surrounded by benches. 

“The other misnomer is that youth in the neighborhood would not play,” citing a youth pickleball league close by.

Hedden’s spirited feedback prompted Boghosian Murphy to reduce her off insisting that the presence of the court docket was a given and that the committee was merely weighing in to tweak Parks’ plans.

Later within the assembly Parks Division additionally briefed the committee on its pursuit of alternate places for a canine run after the board not too long ago requested to shut the kanine-designated space in Penn South Park. The company mentioned that it’s contemplating changing three of the six handball courts which are in Chelsea Park with a new canine space, and wished to ask the committee’s preliminary opinion earlier than transferring ahead with the plan. 

Although a number of committee members objected to eradicating the courts, the committee in the end gave the company the inexperienced mild to come again with a extra fleshed plan earlier than weighing in additional.

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