What’s the Dill A New Pickleball Facility in Pittsfield

What’s the Dill A New Pickleball Facility in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city of Pittsfield has unveiled a new pickleball facility, marking a significant addition to its outdoor recreational offerings. Mayor Peter Marchetti, alongside Parks Commissioner Cliff Nilan, Tony Riello, and Kelly Maginnis of Berkshire Mountain Pickleball, inaugurated the courts with an inaugural match following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Mayor Marchetti expressed his enthusiasm for the new facility, highlighting its potential to enhance the city’s outdoor recreation landscape. He acknowledged the project’s long journey, which began in 2018, and credited the Parks and Recreation staff and the Parks Commission for their dedication. He also gave a special shout-out to former Mayor Linda Tyer and the ARPA team for their crucial role in securing $520,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which made the project possible.

The new facility, located on the northeast corner of Springside Park near the Doyle Softball Complex on Benedict Road, features six courts, a parking lot, and shaded seating. The project, which had faced funding challenges in 2019, was revived last year with over $500,000 from the city’s nearly $41 million ARPA funds.

Gina Armstrong, special project manager for the ARPA funds, celebrated the opening, calling it a fantastic new asset for the community. She emphasized the importance of the federal funds in aiding social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by addressing public health needs, economic impacts, infrastructure, and community development.

Armstrong highlighted the facility’s role in promoting active lifestyles and community connections for people of all ages. She noted the growing popularity of pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, and is suitable for singles and doubles. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball has seen a significant increase in players, with an estimated 4.8 million participants, nearly double the number from five years ago.

Michael Gilardi, founder of Berkshire Mountain Pickleball, shared the club’s rapid growth from 10 members to over 400 in just a few years. He described pickleball as the fastest-growing sport in the country, appealing to men, women, boys, and girls of all ages.

James McGrath, Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager, praised Gilardi’s persistence, which was essential in bringing the project to fruition. Mayor Marchetti added that the courts would be open to the public from dawn until dusk on a first-come, first-served basis, with some exceptions for confirmed reservations. At least three courts will always be available to the public.

Parks Commission Chair Paula Albro, seeing the courts for the first time, described them as beautiful. She addressed the misconception that pickleball is primarily for older adults, noting that most players are in their 30s. Albro emphasized that the game is for everyone and praised the allocation of funds for promoting outdoor exercise and social interaction.

The new pickleball facility represents a significant investment in Pittsfield’s outdoor recreation infrastructure, providing residents with a modern and accessible space to enjoy the sport. The community’s enthusiasm for pickleball and the facility’s potential to foster active lifestyles and social connections underscore its importance as a valuable addition to the city’s recreational offerings.

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