Granby moves forward with first public pickleball courts in county
Grand County’s first ever public pickleball courts devoted to that sport alone could be ready to use by August in Granby.
After two or three years of encouragement from the growing group of pickleball players in Granby and surrounding areas, a contract was approved by the Granby Board of Trustees to build two courts in Polhamus Park.
Pickleball is a paddleball sport that combines elements from tennis, badminton and table tennis. According to the USA Pickleball Association, it is the fast growing sport in the country.
Converted courts have been popping up across the county as more players pick up the paddles, including taping over unused basketball or tennis courts, using open gym times at recreation centers and sharing courts with tennis players. Now Granby will have the first public courts devoted to only this sport.
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While some board members expressed concern about the optics of moving forward with such a project during the coronavirus crisis, it was approved unanimously with the condition to possibly add vapor guards.
The bid for the project from Renner Sports Surfaces will cost $87,860, not including the vapor guards, but not all of this money will come from the town.
According to Julie Martin, recreation director for Granby, of the $92,500 of funding she has worked to obtain for the project, only $35,000 comes from Granby’s capital reserves. This was budgeted for by the town last fall.
“Most of this money for this project is not money that can be used for anything other than recreation,” Martin added.
Thirty thousand dollars come from the Granby Conservation Trust Funds, which must be spent on parks and recreation. Other moneys already secured include a $10,000 private donation, $5,000 from the Recreation, Open Space and Housing Foundation and $5,000 from the Grand County Commissioners Conservation Trust Funds.
Only $7,500 has not yet been secured, included a $5,000 grant from the Grand Foundation and $2,500 from a pickleball group donation.
The project, which had initially been scheduled for a vote March 24, was delayed because of the many coronavirus closures, including restaurants and ski resorts, that occurred that week. Three weeks later, most board members were glad to move forward with the project though some hesitation remained.
“(I’m concerned about) the optics when so many people are out of work and struggling on their basics of food and rent,” Trustee Natascha O’Flaherty said. “While I do believe it’s a great public works project and an unbelievable resource for the town, the timing just seems bad right now.”
Martin pointed out that this would be free to the community and, if current guidelines persist through the summer, it would be an ideal recreational resource during social distancing.
“I agree that it might — to people on the outside — look frivolous at time like this, but at the same time it shows we’re moving forward,” Martin said.
Mayor Paul Chavoustie expressed his support for the project. He pointed out that it could create jobs, that Granby’s financial position as a debt free town puts it in a more secure position and that the board has already moved to support small businesses.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction to show that we’re moving forward,” Chavoustie added. “This isn’t going to last forever.”
The contractors said they plan to have the courts finished by the end of July. Martin said her hope is that pickleball players can get a couple months of use out of the courts before winter.
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