WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Town Manager Jeff Hull announced at Monday night’s Selectmen’s Meeting that installation of the town’s first-ever pickleball courts, located at Palmer Park behind Town Hall, is now complete.
“Two of the folks who were very prominent in pushing for [pickleball] were Tom Pazyra and Jim Buckley. In tribute to them, they are going to be having the inaugural pickleball match this Wednesday, September 26 at 3pm,” said Hull.
According to Hull, both men approached the Recreation Department about offering instructional classes for pickleball six years ago. Only two people wound up signing up for their class, so it was cancelled. Nevertheless, Pazyra and Buckley ended up giving private lessons to the couple who has signed up for the cancelled class.
A core group of Wilmington pickleball enthusiasts soon developed and contacted Hull about the need for pickelball courts in town. Hull had the tennis courts behind the Wildwood and Woburn Street schools stripped for pickleball, but the courts were only available when school and afterschool programs were not in session. The Town Hall’s basketball court and Textron’s tennis courts also posed safety and logistical hazards for pickleballers.
Last year, Wilmington resident Kathleen Shure contacted the Recreation Department and offered to serve as an instructor for beginner and immediate pickleball classes. Both classes were offered multiple times in 2017 and 2018 and were filled to capacity (12-14 players) with waiting lists. Pickleball had arrived in Wilmington!
“In addition to be outspoken for the need for this, Jim Buckley and Tom Pazyra have been involved in providing instruction, along with Kathleen Shure and Elliot Kanter,” noted Hull. “The Rec Department has been offering pickleball. It has become a very popular activity. I know there was some skepticism early on, but this is something other parts of the country have been doing for some time. We’re fortunate now to be able to provide that opportunity here in town.”
“These Pickleball Courts were really a collective effort amongst many groups,” Hull pointed out. “Public Works did the field site prep. George Hooper and his electricians, along with RMLD, were involved with the lighting. We brought a contractor in to do all the paving, netting, striping and fencing. [Town Engineer Paul Alunni served as the project manager.] And now the courts are done and ready to go.”
“This project is a great example of multiple departments working in concert to provide yet another opportunity for residents to stay active right here in Wilmington,” concluded Hull.
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