Pickleball is now being played at Veterans Park in East Northport, with enthusiasts and beginners filling up three new courts from the early morning into the evening, even in the high temperatures.
“We are in the process of doubling the number of pickleball courts across the Town of Huntington to meet the demand for play,” Town of Huntington (TOH) Supervisor Ed Smyth said at a ribbon cutting at the courts yesterday, July 27. “The three new dedicated pickleball courts at Veterans Park had a line of pickleball players waiting to play this weekend as the construction fencing was coming down!”
Supervisor Smyth, Councilman Dr. Dave Bennardo and Councilman Sal Ferro joined over a dozen local pickleball players to celebrate the opening. Also in attendance were Environmental Open Space & Park Fund (EOSPA) Committee member Lisa Brieff, and local resident and pickleball enthusiast Dave Boccio – who made the request for funding of pickleball courts to the EOSPA Committee in 2020.
“We are so excited to see these new pickleball courts bringing such enjoyment and healthy activity to our residents,” said Councilman Bennardo. “This is a perfect example of local government responding to the interests of its people. We look forward to years [of] good-natured competition on these new courts.
The Town Board approved up to $240,000 from the Environmental Open Space & Park Improvement Fund for park improvements at their October 20, 2020 meeting; up to $140,000 in EOSPA funds had previously been allocated, which completed funding for this project. Work began on the pickleball courts the last week of May 2022 and was anticipated to take two months to complete; the opening is right on time and addresses a dramatic rise in popularity of the sport.
“The pickleball community is growing and we are responding to the increased demand. It’s a fun athletic activity for all ages and Huntington has become a hub for this great sport. We are working to ensure that residents from all corners of our town have locations to play,” stated Councilman Sal Ferro.
Councilman Cook, who plays pickleball himself, thanked Director of Parks Todd Jamison, Director of Engineering Jim Ahrens, and Director of General Services Bill Musto for “working together on these courts and for their future collaboration to bring more pickleball courts to all hamlets of Huntington, for all to enjoy.”
Improvements at Veterans Park also included the repaving of the existing handball court; converting a single sand volleyball court into two new sand volleyball courts with new nets and sand; and new fencing for the renovated courts. The new sand volleyball courts are anticipated to open by the first week of August.
Prior to 2022, the TOH had one pickleball court at Centerport Beach; two courts at Elwood Park; two courts at John Gardiner Park; three courts at Sweet Hollow Park; and two courts at Whitman Park. Town officials recently added striping to existing tennis courts for two pickleball courts at Manor Field Park, and the construction of four new pickleball courts is underway at Terry Farrell Park.
“I'm thrilled to see the Town expand its capacity for pickleball by adding three new courts at Veterans Park in East Northport,” Councilwoman Joan Cergol stated. “I've spoken to a growing number of residents who are passionate about this game, and I'm happy the Town is meeting that enthusiasm.”
Veterans Park is on Bellerose Avenue in East Northport.