CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Town officials agree that a pickleball court would be a great addition to the town's recreational activities. But they don't agree on where it should go.
The Council on Aging raised the idea of a pickleball court to the Select Board few weeks back. Lauren and Robert Norcross, who became heavily involved in the COA when it appeared to be on the edge of dissolution, are advocating for the court to be superimposed on the existing basketball court at the town field.
The Select Board, on the other hand, have been considering using a section of the Community Center's large parking lot to prevent any conflicts with use of the basketball court or with the school.
At Wednesday's Select Board meeting at the center, the topic was back in play, but the sides hadn't changed. Chairman Ronald Boucher said he wanted Highway Foreman Kyle Hurlbut to take a look at the parking lot and see where lines could be drawn and get a cost on having it done.
"I'd like to have it here. This is me personally, I think it would be nice to encompass everything here so no one's got to go down the street," he said. "If it's here, it will be available to everyone to use."
Lauren Norcross, now a member of the COA board of directors, said the walk wasn't long if people wanted to park at the center, and they thought the town field would be more accessible.
"We took it upon ourselves to go down to the basketball court and we put some lines with the tape," she said. "There were some guys down there playing basketball, and they were very excited to think that we were maybe putting in pickleball court down there because they love pickleball as well. ...
"We were about to go down now, try it out and see how it works, but I think the surface is different. I think it would be a lot more convenient for more people in town to use that one."
Pickleball is a paddle game that uses a plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball and has elements of tennis and ping-pong. It's grown in popularity over the last several years with a number of local communities adding pickleball courts. The Norcrosses and others have been looking for new activities to engage "younger" senior citizens to keep the COA going.
Boucher said the problem would be people would want to play basketball but Norcross responded that people would have to share and it would be first come, first serve.
"If people were to go down there to play, and there were already people playing basketball, then they would either wait or they will go home," she said. "If they were people down there playing pickleball, right, then the basketball guys would wait or go home."
The COA would buy paddles, a bag full of balls and a portable net for its own use. Others using the court would have to bring their own supplies. Robert Norcross said there's tape down there now but he thought the lines could be painted blue to differentiate them from the basketball lines, with center court being the center of the pickleball court as well.
"I think there's too many lines, and then you're going to run into kids and this and than," said Select Board member Danielle Luchi, who remained skeptical of the idea even after the board members were invited down to the court to hit some balls. Her main concerns were basketball players and the nearby school that could have too many people vying to use that one court.
There was also the cost inherent in putting down new lines, she said, telling Robert Norcross he couldn't just spray paint. She asked how much it would cost to put in a separate pickleball court and Lauren Norcross responded $60,000 to $100,000.
In the end, Boucher said he would check into how much it would cost to paint lines and that they would discuss it again at the next meeting.
The COA did, however, get its full board approved after some difficulty finding people. The council nearly folded the year before because so many members had died, gotten too old or had continued long after their terms had expired. The new board now consists of Lauren Norcross and MaryAnn Maroni, both with terms expiring in 2022; John Fosser, Susan Brandon, Linda Lewitt and Linda Pike, all with terms expiring in 2024, and Irene Shea, with term expiring in November.
Boucher believed that the last A in the named had been changed to E when 911 was implemented and at some point the old sign was replaced with "McLagen."
The board had been leery about reversing the error, unsure how it would affect the half-dozen or so homes on the road but after checking with the post office, Registery of Motor Vehicles and Registry of Deeds, were told it was minor issue that could be changed at the next update in documentation.
"I just wanted to make sure it wasn't a big impact on the residents here because sometimes when you have to change or something you've got to go through a big rigamarole," he said.
Richard Pevoski, who raised the matter, had been frustrated with how long the board had been taking to make what he saw as a simple correction. The Maine resident had attended the meetings through Zoom but informed the town administrator he would not be attending Wednesday's in-person meeting.
"I'm having great difficulty understanding how the question of whether to spell a fallen veteran's name correctly can possibly be a matter of a vote," he wrote.
• The board also voted to trade in the 2002 highway truck for $7,500 against the new truck approved at last year's town meeting and to recognize the new state holiday Juneteenth as a Monday holiday, June 21 this year, for employees.
• In a joint meeting with Board of Health, it was confirmed that the Community Center and Town Hall can open with no restrictions.
• Boucher was re-elected chairman, Luchi as vice chairman and Allen Arnold, who was not in attendance, as secretary.
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Clarksburg Town Meeting OKs $4.8M Budget, Free Cash Uses
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Town meeting on Thursday approved a school budget that includes a prekindergarten program and using free cash to purchase a new backhoe and police cruiser and to fix the town field pavilion.
Some 52 voters attended the town meeting held outside of the Community Center. The meeting had been rescheduled from Wednesday because of inclement weather.
All but two of the 18 articles town warrant, including the $4.8 million budget, passed with little to no discussion in 30 minutes.
Those last articles — for putting the balance of free cash toward lowering the tax rate — prompted a conversation on whether the town should be putting more money into savings.
Pittsfield's Emmanuel Nda broke a meet record and helped the Generals break into the top 10 at Saturday's Central/Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championships at Westfield State University. click for more
The annual town meeting will be held Wednesday, May 26, at 6:30 p.m. outside at the Community Center.
The annual town election will also be held at the Community Center on Tuesday, May 25, from noon to 7 p.m. All candidates on the ballot are running unopposed.
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