Pickleball courts needed in Kennebunkport

To the editor,

On Thursday, June 11, the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen reviewed a proposal to build four new pickleball courts on a lot at 49 Beachwood Ave., the site of the old town barn. That site is one of almost 80 properties owned by the town. While most are properties needed for municipal services, many are non-performing assets that should be evaluated, they’re off the taxes rolls and if they provide no benefits to the town, maybe they should be liquidated.

The 49 Beachwood location is such an asset. As far as I know the vacant building is only used for storage and would not be affected by building pickleball courts. An investment of $75,000 to $90,000 could generate income of $25,000 to $30,000/year, a very good return for most investors and in a few years the investment would be completely paid and provide a useful benefit to the residents. Maybe they can consider leasing or selling the land to private investors.

When my boys were young I coached T-ball, Little League, soccer, basketball and was the first president of the Kennebunk Lacrosse Club. There are many other options as well for the youth in Kennebunkport and all are vital. That being said, only about 15 percent of Kennebunkport’s population is between the ages of 0-19, 42 percent are 65 and older and exercise is just as critical with many fewer options.

Pickleball appeals to all age groups and the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) has added a youth division because of the increased youth activity. In Naples, Florida, I was part of a group called Pickleball for All that went to PE classes at local schools to teach the sport and raise funds to provide them with the equipment.

Hopefully we can find a workable solution in the near future, in the meantime we’ll continue to rely on neighboring communities who have already reacted to the demand.

Bill Case