To the Editor:
As a resident of Ridgefield since 1973, I was delighted when the town opened the Rec Center on Danbury Road. It has become a de facto town center, accommodating so many activities and hosting events for residents of all ages.
When pickleball was initiated and offered as a class through Founders Hall, a group of senior friends and I availed ourselves of this opportunity. We not only learned a game that fit our abilities, but fostered an excitement to play more often with new friends. Pickleball players in many cases do not want access to the rest of the Parks & Recreation facility. We have as a group have helped to financially support the program with donations to purchase equipment.
Consequently, I was dismayed when, as of January 1, it was proposed to quadruple the amount charged for the pickleball membership, making it part of the wellness program. Pickleball has greatly expanded since it began. It provides some players with the best and only exercise available to them. It serves as a nucleus for social interactions that stretch beyond the playing hours.
Although it has since been proposed to phase in these charges over two-three years, I would suggest that the present membership itself constitutes a “wellness program” that is reasonable and fair. Raising the fees so extremely will cause some players to have to forego the physical and psychological health benefits of pickleball. Many of us are on fixed incomes relying on Social Security as part of our monthly income. The rates proposed will raise the cost of playing by 400%, whereas my latest cost of living increase in three years for Social Security is approximately 2.5% or $18 per month. It seems counterproductive to raise fees so drastically on a successful self-sustaining sport that seems to be directed at specific population.
Louise S. Sandy
East Farm Lane, Feb. 15