By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Care for a game of pickleball?
While some may not have heard of the racquet sport – a combination of badminton, table tennis and tennis – others in Keizer have.
Robert Johnson, Keizer parks supervisor, said a place for a pickleball court is a common request.
“We get a lot of people who are interested in pickleball,” Johnson said at last month’s Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting.
Johnson mentioned that during discussion of a possible future multi-use sports court at Keizer Rapids Park. Though no plans are firm yet, Parks Board members had asked Johnson to come up with cost estimates for a sports court in case funding materializes in the future.
Johnson said a sports court could be used for pickleball, basketball and futsal. His cost estimates were based on a court size of 60 feet by 88 feet, for a total area of 5,280 square feet.
According to Johnson’s estimates, a concrete slab for the base would be $6 per square foot, for $31,680. A 10 foot tall black vinyl chain link fence would cost $19,800 while two long reach basketball standards would cost $8,000. The court would be fully fenced with futsal goals built into the fence. There would be one main entry gate and one larger vehicle access gate for maintenance.
Miscellaneous equipment for futsal and pickleball would be another $4,000.
Johnson presented two options for a court surface: an acrylic surface costing $10,560 ($2 per square foot) or a poly sports surface for $26,400 ($5 per square foot). Depending on the surface chosen, the total estimated project cost would range from $74,040 to $89,880.
“It’s a pretty decent price jump,” Johnson acknowledged. “The poly sports court surface would be a half-inch thick, which you overlay in sheets. It’s more forgiving on your joints (than acrylic). There would be a lot less maintenance required long term, but it costs more up front.”
Johnson said vandalism on the poly surface is easier to fix.
“I recommend it personally,” he said. “It’s money well spent. You would be paying $16,000 more in maintenance with the other one over 10 years.”
Parks Board member Jim Taylor liked the idea.
“I agree it’s money well spent,” Taylor said.
Johnson noted not all three sports could use the court at once, with items like nets and posts being needed to change sports. Taylor had a suggestion for how that would work.
“We could have a box with a key, then have people come here (to city hall) and get the key,” Taylor said.
Clint Holland asked if the city would be paying for the project or if it would require someone stepping forward, much as Hans Schneider stepped up last year to pay for much of the sand volleyball courts at KRP.
“I don’t know,” Johnson said. “I was just getting prices for you guys.”
Richard Walsh suggested going for a grant next year and using the KRP land purchase as a match, similar to the process being used currently for the next phase of work at the Big Toy.
Walsh gave background on the project at the Feb. 16 Keizer City Council meeting.
“We haven’t had the money to do it,” Walsh told councilors. “We want to do it when we have funding available. We have some opportunities with the Local Government Grant next year, which will be the last year with (the KRP) land money.”
Walsh also asked for more financial help for the parks. More is being spent on temporary help this year, meaning less money for other park services.
“Parks are taking a disproportionate hit,” Walsh said. “Already the parks are bare bones. We don’t have money to irrigate the fields at Keizer Rapids Park.”