Chesterton Tribune



Pickleballers petition Chesterton Park Board

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It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the country, with more than 3 million participants, and thanks to the Park Department it’s come to Chesterton: pickleball (according to Wikipedia, “a paddle sport that combines the elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis").

Last year, before his retirement, Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias had the two tennis courtsÊat Chesterton Park striped for pickleball. He also provided temporary nets, so that the tennis courts can be quickly converted for pickleball play, with up to four separate, simultaneous matches possible on a single tennis court.

Chesterton Park, in fact, has since become a destination for the pickleball circuit in Northwest Indiana, as Lorrie Laster told the Park Board at its meeting Tuesday evening. “The courts are being used four or five times a week,” she said. “People are coming from all over to play in Chesterton because there are so few courts.”

In fact, as a sign on the tennis court fence at Chesterton Park reads: “Pickleball Open Play: WED-FRI-SAT-SUN 8 to 10 a.m.”

So Laster, along with her husband, Bill, and about half a dozen other local pickleballers in attendance on Tuesday, asked the Park Board to express “its commitment to the fastest growing sport in America” by permanently re-purposing one of the two tennis courts into three dedicated pickleball courts. To that end Bill Laster presented to the Park Board what he called “an imagination sketch” of the final product.

As Chris Huber noted, “The thing about pickleball is that anyone can play it. As you get older, tennis gets a little strenuous. Pickleball is much more tolerable for old people, for any people. It’s an up-and-coming sport and I think it would be very ahead-of-the-curve if we could get dedicated courts.”

Added Frank Turner, “I used to drive to St. Joe, Mich., twice a week because there was no place to play here. You’d be surprised by the popularity of this sport.”

Member Paul Shinn did ask the pickleballers whether there was much in the way of conflict with tennis players. Bill Laster said that the tennis courts are actually rarely used for tennis.

Member Mark Dickinson, for his part, suggested that the Park Board take some time to learn about the sport before it made any decision. “I’d like to take some time to digest what the sport’s all about,” he said. “Just give us a chance to educate ourselves. I’m curious.”

Shinn suggested that the Lasters meet with Park Superintendent Shane Griffin and discuss their idea in more detail, but he did say that he likes the idea of Chesterton’s becomingÊa regional pickleball destination.

Folks interested in pickleball can visit the Chesterton Pickleball Fanatics Facebook page.

Splash Pad

In other business, Griffin reported that the splash pad season at Chesterton Park is winding down. It will remain open through Monday, Sept. 7, Labor Day, then re-open the next two weekends.

The splash pad’s last day of the season will be Sunday, Sept. 20.


Posted 9/2/2020




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