Pickleball paddles

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Pickleball paddles

Places to play pickleball are coming to Mt. Lebanon.

Plans are to paint additional lines so the popular paddle game can be played on tennis courts at Meadowcroft and Williamsburg parks.

The result will be five courts for use by pickleball enthusiasts, at a cost to the municipality of $1,500.

Mt. Lebanon commissioners decided on a course of action with a low financial impact after considering various scenarios to address the No. 1 item on the municipal sports advisory board’s project list.

Recreation director David Donnellan had sent municipal manager Keith McGill a memo “with three pickleball options for consideration, ranked in order of preference, at least from my perspective,” Donnellan said at the commissioners’ Nov. 24 discussion session.

Topping his list was a $48,280 proposal to convert the tennis courts at Meadowcroft Park into six permanent pickleball courts.

“I ranked this option the highest because, from my perspective, it’s what residents have asked for,” Donnellan said. “It’s what they would like. It does get you the most courts out of any of the options.”

His second choice was the one selected by commissioners. The third, at a cost of $8,760, would have involved converting courts at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center for pickleball and charging a fee to play.

Commissioners Mindy Ranney and Lee Ann Foster said they were not in favor of using the tennis center.

“The residents in my ward have been very vocal about not wanting a pay option,” Foster said. “It is more of a pickup activity.”

Both said they have received feedback about the playing surfaces of the courts, with the asphalt at the municipal parks preferred over the tennis center’s specialty composition.

Craig Grella, commission president, flatly rejected the most expensive option while supporting the relatively simply approach of painting lines at the parks, especially Williamsburg, which is located in the ward he represents.

“I have never, not once, seen an organized tennis match at that tennis court. There are always kids playing basketball on the tennis court or throwing a tennis ball around, but never actually playing tennis,” he said. “So I, personally, don’t have an issue and none of the residents I spoke with has an issue converting that to pickleball or striping that area as pickleball.”

Donnellan said he suggested Williamsburg and Meadowcroft parks for pickleball because new surfaces had been installed on the tennis courts within the past few years.

“The court would be oriented to use the existing tennis net,” he said, noting such nets, though, are positioned higher than the standard for pickleball. “For some recreational play and just to have some options available in town, it really would be fine.”

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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