Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and Recreation and Parks Director Nick Mooneyhan inaugurated eight brand-spanking new pickleball courts at Western Regional Park last week.
This ceremony marked the Maryland county’s most extensive pickleball court facility. Additionally, they introduced a new inclusive playground at Warfield Pond Park.
The new outdoor pickleball courts are outfitted with updated amenities, including lights, benches, and shade structures, enabling extended availability throughout the day.
Moreover, the comprehensive construction endeavor encompasses a newly established pathway connecting the tennis and pickleball courts, providing a welcoming environment for both spectators and players.
We recognize the popularity of pickleball. Our residents, especially those who are part of our active-aging community, enjoy the exercise, competition, and camaraderie that this sport provides. Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and we know that it’s important that our residents have access to the best facilities right in their neighborhoods.Calvin Ball – Howard County Executive
Sixteen Pickleball Programs
Mooneyhan commented, “At Recreation and Parks, we research national, state and local trends to ensure that Howard County residents may participate in their chosen recreation and leisure activities.
“My department offers sixteen pickleball programs with multiple dates and time options this fall alone.”
The courts are designated for casual use on a first-come, first-served basis, provided they are not in use for Howard County Recreation and Parks programs. The county always endeavors to communicate scheduled lesson hours and the anticipated number of courts in service ahead of time.
Over 1,000 Members
Howard County Pickleball Association President Andy Dalal was keen to acknowledge Rec and Parks: “We want to thank the Recreation and Parks Department for the construction of the eight dedicated pickleball courts, which include lights.
“We now have over 1,000 members in our association and continue to add new members every day.
“Between the eight new dedicated courts and the blended lines on the tennis courts which provide for another eight pickleball courts, our club is excited to start planning tournaments and organize open play sessions for our members and the public.”
The county foresees the commencement of construction for six additional pickleball courts and other associated amenities at Blandair Park in 2024.
Inclusive Playground at Warfield Pond Park
The recently unveiled inclusive playground at Warfield Pond Park serves as an upgrade to one that was over 25 years old.
This modernized facility is designed to be accessible to residents of all abilities, spanning 4,800 square feet. The enhancements include swings and two merry-go-rounds, each equipped with features to enhance accessibility.
Other new amenities include an augmented and alternative communication board, benches, shade structures, interactive musical play elements, and a fully accessible rubber surface featuring a distinctive branch and leaf pattern.
The primary playground has also been replaced, contributing to the overall improvement of the park.
Several other enhancements were made to the park apart from the playground. This included resurfacing the walkways, boardwalks, and the parking lot.
The playground at this beautiful park was in need of a refresh that provides children in this community with a safe and modern place to enjoy playing with friends and family. Opening this new playground continues Howard County’s commitment to making play areas more accessible and inclusive for all ages and abilities.Calvin Ball – Howard County Executive
Enhancing ADA Accessibility
Efforts were also made to enhance Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility to the tennis courts, and benches were also updated for improved comfort and functionality.
Mooneyhan described his project considerations: “When designing this playground, the county sought to be innovative while fitting in with the park’s aesthetics and enhance what the overall park offers to the community.
“This project follows in the footsteps of similar playground construction that was recently completed at Centennial, Schooley Mill, Savage, and Blandair parks, which have play-for-all elements.”
This $300,000 project received partial funding from a Local Parks and Playground Infrastructure Grant, with local funds covering the remaining expenses. Since 2021, the Department of Recreation and Parks has introduced four additional inclusive playgrounds across the county.
These locations encompass Blandair Regional Park, Schooley Mill Park, Centennial Park, and Savage Park.
Delegate Natalie Ziegler was delighted with the upgrades to the community parks: “Outdoor recreation is important to Howard County residents of all ages, and the new playground at Warfield’s Pond Park and new pickleball courts at Western Regional Park are wonderful additions!
“We had barely cut the ribbons before the courts and playground were full of people enjoying them. It was a privilege to be part of such a happy occasion!”
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