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Pickleball backed for Green Acres despite citizen’s concerns

Pickleball has been a big hit in Salisbury Township, but not with everyone in the township.

Some residents who live in the vicinity of Green Acres Park have objected to the addition of pickleball courts to the western Salisbury Park.

Objections have been raised about a fence that would be placed around the courts to prevent balls from flying into the streets.

Salisbury government officials and administrators told residents at the Sept. 24 township meeting, held via the Zoom format, they plan to go ahead with constructing the pickleball court at Green Acres.

Pickleball courts were added at Lindberg Park as part of the restoration and renovation project there.

The popularity of pickleball in Salisbury has resulted in the township officials’ plans to add a pickleball court at Green Acres.

There are also plans to retrofit courts at Laubach Park.

Jeff Seybolt, who lives in the vicinity of Green Acres, said he was speaking on behalf of other residents.

“I’m here with a list of concerns for Green Acres Park,” Seybolt said.

Seybolt said that, while the two new pickleball courts at Lindberg Park are surrounded by 8-foot-high chain link fencing, “this will work well for Lindberg Park, it won’t work for Green Acres.”

Seybolt said if a pickleball court is placed on the upper courts in Green Acres, it will be only 10 feet away from Andrea Drive.

“It will create an eyesore and other problems,” Seybolt said.

Among the problems, Seybolt said, is that the game of pickleball is noisy.

“This will destroy the tranquillity of Green Acres Park,” Seybolt said.

With pickleball courts in Laubach, there’s no need for more courts,” Seybolt said.

Seybolt met with township Commissioner Alok Patnaik Sept. 17 to discuss his concerns.

“The plan to put an 8-foot high fence along Andrea Drive is an eyesore,” Seybolt said.

“All of the neighbors who met with Mr. Patnaik agreed the upper courts should be converted into a bicycle riding area,” Seybolt said.

“As you know, there are not sidewalks in the area. I know this is where my kids and countless kids have learned to ride bikes,” Seybolt said.

Board of Commissioners President Debra Brinton backed the township recreation and advisory committee in its decision to put pickleball courts in Green Acres Park.

“When you moved there, the park was there,” Brinton said to Seybolt. “I think our recreation committee is trying to do what’s right for the parks.”

Salisbury Township Recreation Director Genny Baillie said, “I feel like we discussed a lot of these same issues before.

“Your issue with the fence and Andrea Drive,” Baillie said to Seybolt, “The pickleball will be a smaller footprint from where the crack is to the interior.

“Parking is going to be addressed with parking added.

“We will be going with an 8-foot fence. We don’t want the balls going out into the street.

“Pickleball is going to be played and yes there will be noise,” Baillie said.

“Overlay striping at tennis courts at Laubach will allow pickleball to be played as well as tennis.

“As for bikes, they’re not allowed in the park. We are not looking to make a bike park. We don’t have skateboards allowed. We don’t have bicycles allowed. We don’t have dogs allowed,” Baillie said of Green Acres.

“The fact that you live next to a park doesn’t give you entitlement,” Baillie said to Seybolt.

“We are going to add a whole new activity that’s going to bring in a whole new demographic. We don’t have enough activity for the middle-aged, upper-aged residents.

“Pickleball is a huge draw. People asked, ‘Why didn’t we install more pickleball courts?’ We have an overflow and people waiting to play there,” Baillie said.

Patnaik said he had one meeting with Seybolt and several other township residents.

Patnaik said he also met with Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich, Salisbury Township Assistant Manager Sandy Nicolo, Salisbury Township Director of Public Works John Andreas and Baillie.

“The idea was to present the feedback I am getting about the park. I understand why we can’t have a riding park.

“We are going to consider the recommendation by the recreation board. We have to look at what is coming from that advisory board.”

“I think Genny said the recreation board has already discussed this,” Brinton said.

“I have been recreation director for 30 years. I didn’t get input for new playground equipment,” Baillie said.

Seybolt asked about proposed expanded parking at Green Acres.

“We have ideas. I don’t want to speak to that. John Andreas will,” Baillie said.

“You have to understand that Salisbury officials are making the decisions,” Brinton said to Seybolt.

“The fire station, you had something to say, and we listened. But that doesn’t mean that we have to listen to you on everything.

“When you finalize plans, can you make them available to the public?” Seybolt asked.

“This is contracted work. This is something that we’re going to do. This is something that John Andreas came up with it in his head.”

Pickleball is described as combining badminton, table tennis and tennis, Bonaskiewich said.

Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, with 26-40 round holes, over a net. Pickleball was invented in the mid-1960s as a children’s backyard game.

There were 20 participants listed as signed up for the Sept. 24 Zoom meeting.

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners is next scheduled to meet 7 p.m. Oct. 8, possibly in the township municipal building, with the meeting to be available for viewing online.