By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – The Northborough Community Preservation Committee (CPC) held a public hearing on Jan. 7 to discuss funding applications for Fiscal Year 2022.
The Recreation Department’s $290,250 funding request for pickleball courts at Ellsworth McAfee Park will now be voted on at town meeting in April.
The CPC is responsible for the expenditures authorized by the adoption of the Community Preservation Act (CPA). The CPA is a funding tool to assist communities with the protection and acquisition of open space, preservation of historic resources and the creation of affordable housing.
Currently, Northborough’s only pickleball court is at the Town hall gym, which is currently closed to the public.
Pickleball is a paddleboard sport that combines badminton, table tennis and tennis. The sport is especially enjoyed by the senior population, but it is gaining popularity with all ages and abilities. The courts will be wheelchair accessible.
Recreation Department Director Allie Lane said there is a large pickleball community from Northborough and surrounding communities. Residents have expressed their interest in outdoor courts.
Six courts are being proposed, and the cost includes demolition of the land, drainage, fencing, and the installation of the courts. The Recreation Department and Department of Public Works (DPW) will be responsible for the maintenance of the courts, which will be minimal.
“I know the people who play this game and the passion they have for it,” Lane said.
Other locations were considered, such as the Northborough Senior Center, but it is more cost efficient to put the courts at the park.
DPW Director Scott Charpentier said it would have been $100,000 more to clear land at the senior center and parking would have been an issue.
The proposed location is central and always has a lot of people around.
“I feel like it is visible and accessible and is the perfect spot,” said Lane.
Charpentier agreed that the location makes logical sense as it will utilize a portion of town land that is underutilized.
If approved at town meeting, the project could be completed as early as Dec. 2021.
Additional approved applications
Residents will also vote at town meeting to fund $65,200 for the Northborough Affordable Housing Corporation, $400,000 for the Conservation Fund, and $20,000 for exterior restoration and preservation of the Historical Society Building at 52 Main St.