Gardiner ponders pickleball courts

By Gail B. Hoffer-Loibl
Posted 6/12/24

The Gardiner Parks and Recreation Committee called on the Gardiner Town Board to consider bringing pickleball to the community. Citing growing public interest, the committee asked the board to …

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Gardiner ponders pickleball courts


The Gardiner Parks and Recreation Committee called on the Gardiner Town Board to consider bringing pickleball to the community. Citing growing public interest, the committee asked the board to consider making a $5000 investment in the development of requests for proposals (RFPs) to streamline the bidding process and ensure all interested parties meet desired standards for the project.

Parks and Rec committee members stressed that they were just asking the board for the ability to seek bids, which would still need to be evaluated. They shared that they were not looking to put in pickleball immediately.

The board discussed potential wording of the RFP, including the possibility of adding a lighting aspect and asking for pricing on two courts versus four courts.

The committee addressed the board’s questions regarding future expenses for installing and operating turn-key pickleball courts, which cost an estimated $250,000 to $300,000, according the proposal presented to the board. To help offset the costs, the committee shared that it has been looking into grant funding. Town Supervisor Marybeth Majestic mentioned the possibility of getting support from the New Paltz community fund.

Given the potential investment in the project, the board debated the amount of interest in pickleball and whether it was something that would benefit the community. Concerns were raised about the noise caused by the sport as well as the impact on the construction of the courts. The board suggested public input was needed before seeking out bids and emphasized the importance of wording the survey to elicit the most accurate responses.

Board Member Carol Richman questioned the need for pickleball and suggested the board prioritize other matters, such as creating safer bike paths.

“We’re bringing people in and expanding our recreation before we need to look at other things,” said Richman. “We got to make sure everything is functioning. Let’s go slowly.”

Board Member Franco Carucci, who serves on the Parks and Rec committee as a liason to the Gardner Town Board responded to objections that new projects, including pickleball, would burden the town infrastructure. He shared his opinion that the town needs to bring people in and his belief that a few dozen people coming to play pickleball each day would not overload the sewer system. As the board noted, any potential project would need to be reviewed for potential environmental impact.

The Parks and Recreation committee shared that assessing demand for pickleball is already happening and can be done in tandem with seeking out potential bids for building the courts. They added that this project will take several years and they are not looking to impose this on anyone.

The Parks and Rec committee also provided an update on the work at Majestic Park, noting improvements to the basketball court, landscaping and the installation of a sink in the pole barn kitchen. They referenced a $9000 grant, saying there was still a little left to do with that funding. In addition, the committee shard that the Majestic Park pump track will have its official ribbon cutting on June 15.

Gardiner’s Climate Smart Committee was awarded a grant of $100,000 based on an energy study that was conducted using a previously earned $10,000 grant. The news was announced during the June 4 town board meeting, Carucci explained that the town had until the end of the month to determine how to implement the funding, which could include implementing more solar power and replacing propane. He noted the need to act quickly in order to be elligible for the next grant of $175,000.

In other committee news, Majestic reported that the town is looking to develop a smart housing advisory task force. The task force would address such concerns as senior housing and short-term rentals and could earn points towards grants, similar to the Climate Smart Committee, Majestic explained.

The Supervisor shared that one interested party has the potential to lead the Housing Smart Action Action Committee. The board discussed the importance of strong leadership and the level of commitment required for those involved with this endeavor. The board agreed that the first goal was community outreach. To that end, the town of Gardiner is hosting an informational session for parties interested in joining the housing task force on June 17 at 7 pm at the Gardiner Town Hall.

During the meeting, the board approved the hiring of Brian Edelstein as Summer Recreation and Kat Pisciotta as assistant director. In addition, the board approved the hiring of summer employees, many of whom, Majestic noted, have been part of the program for several years. Discussion on summer hires also raised the issue of a lack of lifeguards, specifically the need for water safety instructors and an aquatics director.

The board approved the appointment of a new member to the Community Preservation Open Space Advisory Group and established terms for the appointed members which began as of June 5.

Gardiner’s efforts to streamline its accounting efforts continue with the approval of business licensing and escrow modules to its existing financial management system. Majestic explained that these services will enable department heads to be mindful of their budgets. Noting the work of newly hired Municipal Bookkeeper Arlene Weber, Majestic shared that in the past the town board was handling invoices and not properly tracking payments.

Gardiner Highway Superintendent Brian Stiscia discussed the yellow flag given by the New York State Department of Transportation for issues found on the town-owned Aumick Road bridge. Stiscia explained that the flag was given because of problems with some of the bridge girders and that these need to be replaced. He noted that work is being done to improve the safety of the bridge until the town is able to secure funding through the Bridge New York grant. These efforts include adjusting the permitted weight limit for vehicles crossing the bridge.

During the meeting, the board weighed the benefits of leasing versus bonding for the funding of highway equipment purchases. Although bonding would come at a lower cost, the board determined that leasing would be more appropriate as bonding, which requires the board to go through bond counsel and produce legislation, is usually reserved for bigger expenses. The board voted to rescind its prior motion regarding bonding adopted at the May 14 meeting and voted to accept the leasing proposal from First Republic bank.

In other highway equipment news, on the advice of the superintendent, the board voted to reject the auction results on a 2009 truck. The board was advised to put the truck back out for auction in the fall.

Supervisor Majestic provided an update on the proposed trucking warehouse to be built on the border of Gardiner and the town of Modena. She shared that the town had filed a lengthy letter in opposition to this project and that the town continues to monitor the progress of the application. She added that the town is evaluating its options with legal counsel and that no date has been set with the planning board regarding the warehouse.