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Officials discuss how to add pickleball to Milner Recreation Center
Pickleball - Beverly Coffee.jpg
Beverly Coffee plays pickleball at the outdoor tennis courts at Milner Recreation Center. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Adding pickleball to an indoor tennis court could be easier said than done.

The city’s Ad Hoc Committee met Tuesday to consider possibilities for adding a pickleball court indoors. City administrator Nolan Ming offered two possible areas -- on the new tennis court or on a basketball court where the old tennis court was previously located. 

The basketball court is also used for volleyball. Different colored lines are used to distinguish between the sports when they are played. 

A basketball, volleyball and pickleball court raised concerns for too many contradicting lines.

“Is that an option, to put pickleball court lines in there too?” asked Aldermen Rachel Kirby. 

Mayor Ben Newman said, “You’d end up with a lot of lines.”

Alderman Kate Alsbrook asked how many pickleball courts could be placed on the main basketball court, to which Parks and Recreation event coordinator Kyle Clyde replied, “One side of the main court is large enough for three pickleball courts.”

“Of course, you could go with option A and B and have five courts,” said Ming. 

Audience member Dale McDaniel, who urged officials to include an area inside Milner Recreation Center for pickleball, shouted, “Woohoo!”

“So you would have 20 people playing pickleball at one time?” asked Alderman Steve Harvey. 

McDaniel replied, “Again, I say, woohoo!”

Pickleball lines were added to Court 1 of the outdoor tennis court complex so the sport could be offered Tuesdays at 5 p.m.

The discussion attracted a packed room of enthusiasts of each sport. 

“If you can do three pickleball courts on one end of the basketball court that seems like the better option,” said coach David Dunlap, who has dedicated much of his life to advancing the sport of tennis in Warren County – so much so that city officials named the outdoor tennis court complex in his honor.

Dunlap added that the pickleball lines on the outdoor courts are confusing to tennis players and they would be just as confusing on the indoor courts. 

Clyde disagreed.

“The research I’ve found is your brain can easily differentiate between a bright white line verses a dark green line. In the case of the outdoor courts, we used dark green lines. When I pass the outdoor tennis court, they are generally playing on Court 1, including Mr. Dunlap teaching lessons on Court 1 when no other court is taken up. I don’t see people avoiding that court because it has extra lines on it.”

The mayor expressed a desire to serve as many individuals as possible with Milner Recreation Center since some $10 million in taxpayer dollars were used to construct it.

“This is a very large room,” said Newman of the indoor tennis room. “I think to have one court in there with the option of having multiple courts, obviously, you serve a lot more people with the tax dollars that a lot of people paid in for this to be built.”

Scheduling of open play conflicting between the sports was discussed. 

Ad Hoc Committee members allotted 10 minutes for the meeting. When the deliberation extended past that and into the next committee’s meeting time, members tabled the discussion.