Letter: Ridgefield was the mecca for pickleball before fee increase

To the Editor:
I’ve played pickleball at the Rec Center for about eight years. Largely due to Janice Pauly, Ridgefield became a mecca for pickleball in Connecticut, with many players coming an hour or more on Sunday nights to the Rec Center to play against the best.
However, the proposed fee increases for PB players at the Rec Center are too much and will kill the goose that laid the golden egg. In 2018, a resident non-senior paid $120/year for a gym only membership. That rate is being increased in two steps to $480/year in 2021, an outrageous increase of 300%. Seniors pay 10% less.
The Rec Center is not a private club. Their mission should be to serve the community at a reasonable cost.
Many PB players are seniors; the rate increase is an undue hardship for some of them. Why are the PB players being singled out for this increase? Why not the basketball players?
The PB players don’t use the showers or locker rooms. They play PB and leave. They clean up after themselves and have paid for their equipment. They are not interested in the pool, sauna, steam room or wellness center.
I also play PB at other facilities in the area. The word is out about the fee increase in Ridgefield. Many non-residents no longer come here to play. They have found other places to play, such as a brand-new beautiful facility in Oxford. There are many other places to play. The Fairfield senior center has drop-in PB for $4 a session and they don’t require a membership!
While I think we’ve been getting a good deal, the currently slated increase is way too much! I suggest a more modest increase that doesn’t force PB players to pay for things they don’t use or want.
Paul Morris
Ridgefield, Jan. 24