Marine Park pickleball players aim to secure more court space
A group of pickleball players are trying to secure more areas to play the sport as its popularity grows.
The Marine Park Pickleball Associates meets every morning to play the game, but they struggle to have enough court space.
"It's like a community,” said club founder Mike Chaiet. “We all try to help each other improve the game and we all have fun."
Chaiet and Bob Spieler started the now 500-member organization back in 2019 but keeping the club going hasn't always been easy. Chaiet says it isn't rare for members sit on the sideline because of a lack of court space, while many of the Marine Park tennis courts go unused.
"We have 25 people here and everyone is waiting over here,” added Chaiet. “But take a look at the tennis courts, there's nobody there."
Last year, the club was given permission to convert one of 15 tennis courts in the park into four temporary courts.
"It would be nice if we had permanent nets where you could come any time you wanted to play, and that we don't have,” said player Aggie Smith.
In a statement, the NYC Parks Department said they aim to provide a balance of access between all of the various sports and activities. They also currently have another project underway to reconstruct the play area and sport courts at P.S. 278 playground in Marine Park, which will add four more pickleball courts.
Players say they'll continue calling on elected officials and the NYC Parks Department.