By Emily Burnham, BDN StaffMay 11, 2019 1:32 am
Two new amenities — one of which has been in the works for close to a decade — will be coming to two Bangor parks this year, provided budgets and building plans are approved.
Bangor Parks and Recreation has submitted a budget request to the city to convert the unused tennis courts at Williams Park on Newbury Street into pickleball courts, as part of its 2019-20 fiscal year budget.
The department is also in the final stages of preparing Hayford Park on Thirteenth Street for the building of a long-awaited new skate park, to replace the skate park that has been located just off Union Street since 2011.
“These are both things that will offer new amenities and important upgrades for people in our community,” Director Tracy Willette said.
Dottie Cerbone (right) gets ready to serve as her teammate Sue Bartley (left) looks on during a game of pickleball on Feb. 4 at the Armstrong Tennis Center in Hampden, Feb. 4, 2015. Their opponents were Dottie’s husband, Tony Cerbone and Betty Jamison.
“We want to make it a true community effort,” Willette said. “As someone who saw the original park built in 2000, and then has been here through the second park, it is really gratifying to finally see this almost done.”
The Black Bear Skate Park Association, a local skateboarding booster club, has raised around $30,000 for construction, and Willette said additional money will come from local organizations and from state and national grants.
As for the pickleball courts at Williams Park, Willette said a group of avid players who play at Armstrong Tennis Center in Hampden approached him last year about potentially turning the disused tennis courts at the park into pickleball courts. Pending the City Council’s approval of the budget request next month, the courts could be converted by the end of the summer.
“They wanted to have an outdoor option for playing, and it’s really a win-win for us,” Willette said. “It utilizes a space that’s been in disuse for a long time, and it allows us to offer something new in our facilities.”
Pickleball combines elements of tennis, ping-pong and badminton and is played on a hard-surfaced, 20-by-44-foot court. Players hit plastic wiffle balls with paddles that are a little larger than ping-pong paddles. Like in ping-pong, the scoring is done in single digits. The match continues until the first player or team reaches 11 points.
Bangor has tennis courts at Hayford Park and at Little City Park.