• 86°

Editorial: Pickleball conversion paying off

About two years ago, tennis and pickeball players were in a tense debate about a plan for City Park.

The plan in question proposed to convert some of the tennis courts at City Park into pickleball courts, providing a permanent, public location for players. No more reconfiguring tennis courts before starting a game.

The height of tennis’ popularity had passed, and it was time to embrace the rapidly growing sport of pickleball, the new sport’s supporters said. With a donation from the Post brothers, making the requested changes would cost relatively little in taxpayer dollars.

However, transparency about the change, initially placed on the Salisbury City Council consent agenda, ranked as one of the greatest concerns for tennis players. Tennis players raised understandable concerns about public input because placement on the consent agenda usually means easy approval with a batch of other items. Another concern was that private donations were driving changes to a public facility.

The plan eventually passed by a 4-1 vote — reducing the number of tennis courts at City Park from six to four and growing the number of pickleball courts from zero to six. While concerns remain understandable, the tennis-to-pickleball conversation looks like it was worthwhile. The pickleball courts regularly draw groups of players — more so than the tennis courts. There also are young folks such as Brian Hickman, a 14-year-old, who are discovering and enjoying the sport. Jon Post is helping to bring a statewide pickleball tournament to the city.

There’s also still plenty of space for tennis tournaments or recreational games that draw several players.

As a general matter, public parks should adapt like they’ve done for pickleball when popularity of a particular sport or outdoor activity reaches a critical mass. In addition to City Park, county staff created several pickleball courts at Dan Nicholas Park in 2017. In another recent adaptation, city staff have allowed volunteers to build a course for mountain bikes at Salisbury Community Park.

Boosting the local quality of life isn’t as simple as creating green space through public parks. Those green spaces need facilities for the range of sports and activities that local residents enjoy.

Comments

Local

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Dragon Boat race returns after year hiatus

Local

Marker commemorating Jim Crow-era lynchings in Rowan County, racial injustice required years of work

Local

Identified Marine was a Salisbury native, served in WWII

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees COVID-19 cases coming more quickly, remains in middle tier for community spread

Cleveland

Cleveland plans to build walking trail, community barn quilt mural

High School

High school athletics: Male Athlete of the Year Walker in league of once-in-a-generation players

Business

Young entrepreneur learns lesson of responsibility by raising quail, selling eggs

Lifestyle

Historic McCanless House sold, buyers plan on converting home into events venue

Lifestyle

Library’s Summer Reading Week 10 has virtual storytime, last chance to log hours

Coronavirus

Positive COVID test knocks DeChambeau out of Olympics

College

College football: North grad Delaney ready for next challenges at Johnson C. Smith

College

Fishing: Carson grad Bauer signs with CVCC

Business

Biz Roundup: City of Salisbury brings back in-person community resource fair

Nation/World

States scale back virus reporting just as cases surge

Nation/World

Wildfires blasting through West draw states to lend support

Nation/World

French protesters reject virus passes, vaccine mandate

News

State briefs roundup

Crime

Salisbury man arrested for robbery in Cleveland

Crime

Blotter: South Carolina man arrested after attempting to purchase dog with stolen credit card

Local

Carolyn Hurley remembered as giving person

News

Stay-at-home orders cut into commercial fishermen’s catch last year

News

Two bodies found after helicopter goes down off NC coast

Crime

Uber driver charged with sexually assaulting customer near Knightdale

Nation/World

Unlikely partners: Pelosi, Cheney team up for Jan. 6 probe