Basketball courts

New pickleball and basketball courts to be unveiled at Darien Park

DARIEN, CT – The city will officially unveil four new pickleball courts and a new basketball court at Cherry Lawn Park in Darien this weekend.

According to Parks and Recreation Program Supervisor Jami Gore, a single tennis court in the park has recently been transformed into four pickleball courts due to the sport’s growing popularity in the city.

“The project had been requested by a small group of residents over the past few years,” Gore said in an email. “The city had a long-term plan to set up courts, but the sport quickly grew in popularity. The residents decided to seek private funding with the support of the city and were quickly successful.

The project was completed less than a year after the fundraising efforts, Gore said.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said the town is always happy to provide new or improved amenities to residents of Darien.

“Cherry Lawn is a very popular park,” said Stevenson, “and these new grounds will serve people of all ages for years to come.”

Cherry Lawn Park’s four new pickleball courts are currently the only ones in town, and the department will look for opportunities to potentially add more fields in the future as demand continues to grow, Gore said.

“Pickleball in Darien is steadily growing in popularity,” Gore said. “The Parks and Recreation curriculum continued to grow along with the demands for open play. “

Gore said the two new court projects had gained momentum due to the current coronavirus crisis, during which there had been an increase in the number of people playing pickleball in town, although she had noted that traffic had also increased at most of Darien’s outdoor facilities during this period.

“Therefore, it also created a strong argument to rebuild the basketball court that couldn’t be played at that time,” Gore said. “People needed to come out and recreate themselves, and we wanted to do everything possible to provide these opportunities to the community.”

The courts will be unveiled during two opening ceremonies on Sunday afternoon. The ribbon cutting on the pickleball courts will take place at 2 p.m. and the ribbon cutting on the basketball court is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

The event will also include games on the two courts, free instruction with professionals, raffles and light refreshments, as well as free play on the courts at 3pm.

Gore said the department thanks community members Sean Shay, Dave Sealy, Patti Bumgardner, Steve O’Connell and Valli Baker, as well as the Darien Athletic Foundation and other community donors who helped make these new short a reality.