Glenwood rec center plan eyes pickleball solution |

Glenwood rec center plan eyes pickleball solution

Jerry Santoro, right, and Tony Svatos play an afternoon round of pickleball at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

A consultants’ recommendation to renovate the Glenwood Springs Community Center ice rink for year-round use leans in favor of making seasonal space for the growing sport of pickleball.

“You’re on the cusp of being able to capture pickleball as an activity and as a revenue source in the community,” Art Thatcher of GreenPlay recreation consultants advised City Council during a presentation of the final Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Master Plan update last week.

“There is a demand and a need for that type of facility, which is something you don’t have now,” Thatcher said, while also making several recommendations for improving cost recovery at the Community Center.

Recently, tennis and pickleball players have clashed over limited court time at the outdoor courts during the warmer months of the year. City Council is set to consider recommendations from its Parks and Recreation Commission on that front at the Dec. 1 council meeting.

In the meantime, the new recreation master plan includes four options for creating usable court space in the open air but covered ice rink during the off season.

Two of those options would allow for five pickleball courts during part of the time, and roller hockey and/or small-court soccer at other times.

One would involve simply treating the surface to make it less slick and taping lines for both pickleball and roller hockey at a cost of up to $6,000. Short-term, that’s probably the best option, Thatcher said.

The other would entail the installation of a removable, multi-sport court surface at a cost of between $130,000 to $150,000, according to Thatcher’s estimates.

Additional options would accommodate indoor soccer only with a turf or court overlay, ranging in cost from $110,000 to upwards of $300,000.

The city might also consider converting some of its tennis courts at Sayre or Veltus parks for pickleball use. A dedicated pickleball complex could attract leagues and tournaments, and turn into a revenue source, Thatcher said.

The broader master plan recommends ways for the city to meet its goal of recovering 60 percent of the operating and maintenance costs for the Community Center.

In the report, Thatcher suggests increasing awareness about the Community Center through marketing, conducting membership drives, holding member appreciation events, engaging more public use of the swimming pool, and doing social media campaigns.

Operationally, the city should also consider restructuring its membership pricing, review facility rental rates and contracting for some services such as recreation league officials, ice rink operations, marketing and janitorial needs, the report suggests.

City Council is expected to formally adopt the new parks and recreation plan at a future meeting.

At the Dec. 1 meeting, council will review recommendations related to the Community Center’s reservation policy for outdoor courts.

Currently, one of the four outdoor tennis courts can be reserved for pickleball during certain hours of the week, while the others are used mostly for tennis. A new, dedicated pickleball court has also been lined out on the outdoor pool deck for drop-in play, rec center athletics coordinator James Main said.

Pickleball is a smaller court game using a shorter net, large paddles instead of rackets, and a hard plastic ball with holes similar to a whiffle ball. It has grown in popularity in recent years, especially among older players who prefer the slower-paced game.

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