Friday, December 2, 2011

Picklers Persistant to Play on Hilton Head Island

"Generally I see only positive news in the newsletter, not patience trying news. But who knows, perhaps it is time to discuss some of that too.

Some time ago I sent late breaking news that we had permission to paint pickleball lines on tennis courts here on Hilton Head Island. The very next day I went to Lowes and asked them to spec some paint that would be compatible with the tennis court surface. They immediately refused and advised me to go to the county to get the paint specs. I went to the Hilton Head Island Recreation Center who works closely with Beaufort County and they graciously gave me a five gallon bucket of paint that they use for striping various courts on the island.

I no sooner put the bucket of paint in my garage when I received a phone call from the director of the HIlton Head Island Recreation's' director, Frank Soule, that I should hold off on painting the lines because he needed to re-confirm with the county that it was OK to paint the lines on the tennis courts. This of course was a very time consuming process with the ultimate decision being negative.

We appealed the decision to Joe Penale of Beaufort County Parks and Leisure and asked him to meet with us at the courts. He agreed and made an appointment for a Monday at 9:00 a.m. That appointment was subsequently canceled and rescheduled for the following Wednesday. He never showed up. Later, he sent an e-mail saying he was called out of town and couldn't make the meeting. He went on to say that the Beaufort County Parks and Recreation Board had determined that they did not want pickleball lines painted on the tennis courts, but we were free to paint lines on the basketball court and suggested that we could get two pickleball courts on the basketball court. The basketball court is an elementary school size court and will only allow one pickleball court size-wise. Additionally, the court is in poor condition with deep cracks and a 4 inch drop off at the edges. Further, there is no fence to hinder errant balls from rolling into the brush and players must shinny over a 4 X 4 barrier to get the balls. Though we use this court in conjunction with the other two tennis courts with chalked lines on all three courts and a portable USAPA net on the basketball court, this situation is less than acceptable.

So, we continue to appeal the decision to the Beaufort County Board and we are working on other avenues to get pickleball accepted in the community. We plan to send an e-mail to the Island Packet Newspaper to see if they will do a brief introductory article on pickleball and make it known that we have over 100 e-mail addresses for our pickleball roster and approximately 15-22 people showing up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:00 a.m. to play pickleball. We are not going away!"

Don Wheeler, Ambassador
Hilton Head Island, SC

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