Letter: Increase will result in pickleball participation decline

To the Editor:

The Recreation Center will increase fees for drop-in Pickleball by 400% over the next three years. Pickleball drop-in fees will move from a Recreation Membership ($120 annual fee) to a Wellness Membership ($480 annual fee). Why the increase? Parks and Rec states the decision to increase rates is “because the program had been thriving and growing for years…”  

It has indeed grown. Pickleball is played by many Ridgefield seniors, who do not want to use the wellness center’s whirlpool, sauna, steam rooms or deluxe locker rooms. Many of these seniors are on fixed incomes. Such an increase will only lead to a decline in pickleball participation and a loss in revenues.  

The expense report for the coming FY states that expenses will increase less than 5%. Why is a 400% increase warranted? It appears that pickleball players, almost all seniors, are shouldering the expenses of renovated locker rooms and new equipment they do not use.  

Pickleball players have already paid for several improvements to Yanity gym. Pickleball players set up and take down their own nets and bring their own equipment each time they play. Pickleball gym times are not displacing any other sport. No recreation staff are required for this sport.

These increases are unfair. I would like to understand why parks and rec is imposing this arbitrary burden on pickleball players.

Ellie Hartog

Whipstick Road, Dec. 22