Pickleball has been proposed as a new recreational opportunity at Bingham Park. The idea was brought to the Hawley Parks & Recreation Commission, April 25, by pickleball enthusiasts Michael and Cynthia Cann.

HAWLEY - Pickleball has been proposed as a new recreational opportunity at Bingham Park. The idea was brought to the Hawley Parks & Recreation Commission, April 25, by pickleball enthusiasts Michael and Cynthia Cann.
Somewhat resembling ping pong but without the table and with bigger, solid rackets and a larger plastic ball, the game which is all the rage in many parts of the country takes less space than a tennis match requires.

Mr. Cann, a chemistry professor- emeritus at the University of Scranton, said that he and and wife love playing pickleball at their winter place in Florida. The game started out west and became very popular, spreading to the southeastern U.S. and is now coming up the East Coast. With a lack of public pickleball venues locally, he suggested that it would be welcomed if it could be introduced in Hawley.

“This sport is sweeping the nation,” he said. The Hideout in Lake Ariel, as well as Paupack Hills in Palmyra Township-Pike, both private entities, have pickleball. He credited his friend Mike Strong, who was born on North Street, Marble Hill (near Hawley) for the idea of starting pickleball at Bingham Park. Strong is a retired coach at the University of Scranton.

“Pickleball is an easy sport to learn. It’s not like tennis where you got to play for years to be good,” he said. “You can [play] as first timers and have a great time playing pickleball.” The game is enjoyed by all ages.

A pickleball court is about a quarter that of tennis and plays much faster.
The rules differ from tennis, including how the ball is served. Cann had some equipment with him to demonstrate the hand motions.

He presented a plan where it could occupy the present tennis court, with its own lines painted. Four pickle ball courts could fit in the 20 by 44 foot tennis space. The space could be used alternately for either tennis or pickleball, but pickleball would need its own net.

This was a sticking point, out of concern that a mobile pickleball net might now stay long if kept to the side when not in use.

Mrs. Cann said another option would be to split the tennis area and keep one for tennis, and the other for pickleball.

Cann provided contact information of contractors and consultants who could help with set up a pickleball court.

“Here’s my vision,” Mr. Cann said. “Can you imagine The Settlers Hospitality Group Pickleball Open, out here.” Tourists might come from the tri-state area and stay in local hotels and motels. If there were four pickleball courts, there could be a tournament. A demonstration day could be advertised to introduce the game, his wife added.

Hawley Parks & Rec has been trying to get a grant to refurbish the tennis court, which is in bad need of attention.

Cann quipped that his motivation was to have a place for them tho play pickleball up here. Elaine Herzog, Councilwoman and Commission member, said their motivation is to see the facilities be used, but right now the condition of the tennis courts is a concern. They have tried four or five times to get a grant.

Price estimates to restore the courts which Cann presented, however, may help, Parks & Rec Chairman Jim Shook said. Cann was referring to a project planned at Wallenpaupack Area High School, to rebuild the tennis courts and track.

“These numbers are phenomenal,” Herzog said. “It’s literally a fraction, which is maybe why we haven’t been successful at grant applications. It’s ridiculous.”
Mrs. Cann said that their community in Florida obtained a grant for a net, from the U.S. Pickleball Association.

Parks & Rec will be exploring the proposal further.

Also discussed:

Bingham Park restrooms are expected to be ready for use by May 17. No further information was presented about a proposed dog park in Riverside Park. There was further discussion about watering of flower planters downtown and the park’s landscaping.

Hawley Parks & Rec meets on the last Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at Borough Hall.