Raquet Sports Facilities Use

Submitted by Mike Doscher

The tennis community is a small but vital part of LWA culture.  Pickle Ball has become the new entrant to the racquet/paddle activities and they are also a small but growing part of the culture.  These two groups squared off with each other again in front of the Board vying for support of their particular interest group.  Tennis is the first born and Pickle Ball is the new child in the family.  There is bound to be some fighting over the toys and it has gone on for about four years.  The two sides were arguing noise issues and I thought if this continues maybe we should eliminate tennis and pickle ball (take all the toys away).  One speaker again opined that the tennis courts were “owned” by the tennis club.  Wrong, it is common property we just let you use it.  After the meeting it occurred to me that they were really fighting over our money and space and I don’t play either sport.  The Board decision becomes clear if you view the question from the position of closely watching how we use our assessments (LWA taxes) and common property, while ignoring the emotions of the two sides.

The Board could do nothing but the kids will keep on fighting.  This doesn’t cost us anything but most of us are tired of the yelling.  They could buy the new kid a brand new Pickle Ball facility, spend $100,000+ of our money, and cover over a very large piece of common area along with high fences.  That will keep these two small groups quiet but it certainly doesn’t make me happy.  How about you?  The last option was discussed four years ago but just wouldn’t get a fair hearing.  Tell the kids they need to find a way to share the underutilized space that is already allocated to racquet sports.  Now this sounds like maybe the highest and best use of our money.  Charge one fee for the use of the racquet/tennis facility.  Have our paid administration figure out which courts are dual use and which are not and arrange for scheduling that meets the needs of both groups.  The oversight of the facility could be one Committee, not two clubs fighting.  I think the Board just took a step down this path in the recent Board Meeting.    The alternative would be for a petition to put these alternatives on a ballot and it only takes about 150 members to make that happen.  I would bet real money on the results of the vote.  God bless progress and maybe peace and quiet.  On to the next LWA battle.


3 thoughts on “Raquet Sports Facilities Use

  1. Both the Mike Doscher comment and the Gene Cook reply are ill considered, demeaning and insulting to many tennis and pickleball enthusiasts who are close to working out a solution that will accomodate the interests of all and save LWW a ton of money that might otherwise need to be spent on a separate facility for the pickleballers. Pickleball is only about a 20 year old sport but has been gaining popularity rapidly on a national scale. Amenities for both sports are important to an up to date and attractive planned community. It would tarnish the image of LWW to disregard both as Mr. Doscher suggests. His attempt at humor comes off as merely malicious while Mr. Cook is so uninformed one wonders what motivates him to join in the felicitous mud-slinging.

  2. I too agree that the debate between these two groups can become tiresome and at times, mean spirited. But I think Mike and any of the large majority of non racquet sports players would agree that there is spirit and passion there because these activities are in fact important to those involeved. I find it somewhat insulting ( although possibly accurate ) that it be characterized as infantile children fighting over toys.

    To dismiss the whole issue as solved by telling the two parties to just share an “underutilized” resource is simplistic and not adressing the issue that ultimalely both parties will be negatively affected in that they are not able to access an adequte facility during a peak demand time i.e-. summer mornings.

    If there were to appear a large contingent of Wildwood residents that became involved in and passionate about disc golf and the only apropriate place to persue that passion was the golf course, do you think that it would be ok the tell the “kids” to just work it out? Maybe let the disc golfers have the back 9 holes 4 days a week from 9-12 in the morning? If I understand it correctly, the golf course is an “underutilized” resource these days, right?

    So rhetoric aside, let get to specfics, .There is a basketball court that is truley an underutilized resource ( except that now it is highly utilzed by pikel ball even though it is dangerous and inadequte). It is not necessary to spend 100k to create a new paved area, rather, it works to slightly increase the current paved space , surface it and put in a low fence to keep plastic balls that don’t bounce very high in the playing area. As a side benefit those playing basketball don’t have to chase balls out into the wet grass/mud area either.

    While I have nothing but the upmost respect for Mike and all of those that have taken on the task of helping to govern our community, I beleive that the reason that we all have to continue to listen to the” kids” fighting over this issue is because of the inability of the LWW board to adress and implement a relatively low cost and easy solution.

    • Zero-sum games always have a winner and a loser. And they often leave hard feelings that are difficult to mend.

      The zero-sum game being played out now between tennis and pickleball is generating an awful lot of heat and very little light. As it now stands, this is a struggle for shared use of an existing amenity — the Marina tennis courts — and the loser is likely to be our community, no matter how it turns out.

      The facts are: (1) pickleball is the only sport at Lake Wildwood that is growing rapidly — the pickleball club is now about the same size as tennis; (2) pickleball shares a basketball court at Meadow Park, which sometimes produces challenging sharing situations between the two incompatible sports; (3) the unfenced court is surrounding by unprepared turf that is often soggy, which has caused a number of injuries when players overrun the court; (4) demand for pickleball has outgrown the two available courts, which leaves as many as a dozen players sitting on the sidelines at a time; and (5) the proposal to share underutilized Marina tennis courts (which can accommodate two to four pickleball courts each) is only an interim response that begs for a long term solution that will serve both tennis and pickleball well.

      The Planning Committee generated such a plan two years ago. The recommendation was to consolidate tennis play at the North Gate by add two additional tennis courts, lighting courts 4, 5, and 6, and converting the Marina facility to pickleball. Tennis currently does not have a viewing area, from which USTA match play can be observed; it also has only a small “clubhouse” with a single toilet that is not ADA complaint. The Committee recommended adding a viewing pavilion that overlooks play and upgrading the clubhouse. The costs would have been between $200,000 and $350,000, depending upon the design. The pickleball club has offered to absorb the costs of converting the Marina courts to their sport.

      I hope the Board will consider this proposal as a long-term solution to providing our racket sports enthusiasts with suitable facilities. It would eliminate tennis’ split personality and certainly represents the greatest value-added solution for the Association.

      The cost per membership: about $6 to $10 per month for one year, which is less than special assessments to improve our underutilized pool, an elevator for the Community Center, lighting for the parking lot at Commodore Park, and prettier toilets at Meadow Park.

      Oops, there I go, slipping into another zero-sum argument – and I didn’t even mention the $6,000,000 upgrade being proposed for the Clubhouse.

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