Marge and Joe Cantwell take on Paul Wirth and Jon Mayhew for a competitive game of pickleball while Becky and Jack Rininger, Ray Berkin and Brenda Waigand play a leisurely game on the other court. : Pickleball paddles and balls are kept in a nearby bin and are available for use at the courts. (Photos by Virginia Ransbottom)

City’s new pickleball courts get a workout

By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Allegan’s new pickle ball court is open and becoming quite popular.

The two end-to-end blue courts are where the previous tennis courts were at Rossman Park, at the northeast corner of Marshall Road (M-89) and Fifth Street.

Paddles and balls are available for public use and a broom is also available to clear away any debris dropped from the shade trees towering overhead.

Playing pickleball with his family on the courts Wednesday, July 26, Paul Wirth said he was stoked about the new courts.

“I play in tournaments in Kalamazoo and tried to get an indoor pickle ball court at the fieldhouse here,” he said.  “It’s one of the few sports all four generations can play at the same time.”

Wirth said the court is the size of a badmitten court which is smaller than a tennis court for less ground coverage and lower impact.

He was back again Thursday night to play with a group organized through the Allegan Pickleball Facebook page started by Ray Berkin.

Berkin said when he heard the tennis courts were to be repurposed because of the lack of use, he asked the parks department about pickleball courts and they responded to the delight of many.

The Allegan Pickleball Facebook page was created to set up group or individual play times, learning sessions or for information on how to play.

Jon Mayhew who came out for a group night said he could remember playing tennis at the park when he was kid.

“It had a chain link net and the cracks in the pavement were huge,” he said.

The pickleball court is much more user-friendly with a smooth surface, lower net and played with a wiffle-type ball making it more accessible for all ages and abilities. The paddles are made of wood or lighter-weight high-tech materials.

According to the “official pickle ball website” pickleball is served diagonally (starting with the right-hand service-square), and points can only be scored by the side that serves.

Players on each side must let the ball bounce once before volleys are allowed, and there is a seven-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net, to prevent “spiking.” The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until he or she faults. The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least two points wins. Pickleball can be played with singles or doubles.

“The pickleball courts are fabulous,” said Brenda Waigand of Herkimer Street.

While Waigand is a neighbor and player on the courts, she brought up a parking concern to the Allegan City Council recently.

“There’s not enough parking spaces for cars to get off the road so its dangerous when cars are turning (from Marshall Street) onto Fifth Street.”

Waigand asked council members to consider more parking and suggested doing away with the wooden posts on both sides of Fifth Street that block off parallel parking and are uninviting.

Mayor Rachel McKenzie directed staff to assess the situation.

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at (269) 673-5534.

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