Wantage Township is looking to put pickleball courts in Woodbourne Park into the current location of an old unused ice-skating rink that could cost up to about $150,000.
Mayor Ron Bassani said the township is chasing grant money.
“So hopefully that buck-and-a-half – or $150,000 — is not what we’re going to end up paying,” Bassani said. “It’ll be the cost to us, but it’s not us alone that will be paying for it.”
Township officials are working with their grant writer to secure money to enhance the parks.
“The way we go after these grants is to demonstrate things we’re doing in the township to help senior citizens keep healthy,” Bassani said. “Pickleball has been dominated by senior citizens.”
Bassani said he recently met with pickleball advocates and went over what the township can and can’t do. They produced a strategy that involved converting the old ice-skating rink in Woodbourne Park.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) can patch some of the larger cracks that are three inches wide. A path can be backfilled, and workers will put down interlocking tiles for the courts.
Bassani said up to three pickleball courts could fit in the area.
“We’re trying to do it right,” he said. “It would be one chain-link fence compassing all three courts and it’ll still allow that basketball court to be on the end. We probably could have squeezed in a fourth pickleball court, and we could always look at that in the future.”
Bassani said he didn’t want to remove the front basketball court because younger kids use it and don’t go to the back basketball court either because their parents are more toward the front of the park or there are older kids back there.
The possible plan also calls for 20 feet surrounding the pickleball court, and some benches are possible for those waiting to play next.
“If it does take off the way we suspect, then we can look at the future, also possible going for lights,” Bassani said. “But that’s a future-type thing.”