Basketball courts

New pickleball courts, repaved tennis and basketball courts unveiled in Riverhead Town Parks

When Jennifer Shotts and Michelle Hart arrived at Police Officers Memorial Park in Wading River early Monday afternoon to play tennis, they were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the court.

“It was such a lovely surprise,” Ms Shotts said.

The married couple moved to Wading River two years ago and have been playing tennis at the park two or three times a week since. On Monday, they were able to check out the repaved courts after city officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovated tennis and basketball courts. A ribbon cutting also took place at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton where new pickleball courts were unveiled.

Members of Riverhead Town Council, the Parks and Recreation Department and Recreation Advisory Committee gathered for the red ribbon ceremony.

Ms Hart said that compared to the cracked asphalt tennis courts she and Ms Shotts played on last year, the new foundation is “remarkably different”.

The tennis courts were redone two years ago, but with an asphalt surface.

“It didn’t have [the] comfort of what they just dropped off, which is what you usually want,” Ms. Hart said. “It saves your knees, it helps with running and if you fall it’s not as hard on your body.”

Ray Coyne, Superintendent of the Riverhead Parks and Recreation Department, and Jason Randall of the LandTek Group worked together on the three separate lots, which began construction last fall. They said the only issues they encountered were weather delays during the winter and spring months. The new pickleball area is the newest addition to Veterans Park and already popular with the community, with all three courts packed with players before the short ceremony begins.

“Pickleball is all the rage right now,” said assistant supervisor Devon Higgins, who represented the supervisor’s office. “It was really great that the board was able to come together and make this happen.”

According to Coyne, each of the new courts was paid for by Parks and Recreation and Community Benefits funds, and taxpayer dollars were not used to fund the projects. The Police Officers Memorial Park tennis and basketball courts, although not new, have been extensively renovated. The basketball court in particular was in such poor condition that it had to be temporarily closed last summer.

On Monday, city officials cut the ribbon for the new pickleball courts at Veterans Memorial Park. (Credit: Viola Flowers)

“We actually had to shut him down a bit because he was unplayable,” Mr Coyne said. “We brought in our highways department and fixed it to get it running again, but then we stepped in to tear it all down.”

Both Ms Shotts and Ms Hart said the tennis and basketball courts are often used when they come to play, and the new courts are a “great investment in the community”. Between pickleball’s popularity and tennis regulars, there’s no shortage of players hitting the new courts for their summer debuts.

“Here everything is used,” Mr. Randall said. “And that’s what he’s here for.”