Pisgah pickleball | News, Sports, Jobs

Saranac Lake Department of Public Works employee Blake Darrah rolls a former parking area at Mount Pisgah flat on Friday as the village prepares the site for three new pickleball courts. The courts, which are being funded through the High Peaks Pickleball Club, are expected to be ready for play later this summer.
(Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

SARANAC LAKE — The construction of three pickleball courts at Mount Pisgah — the first of their kind dedicated to the sport in Saranac Lake — started earlier this week as village employees prepped the site, and High Peaks Pickleball Club Treasurer Pam Palumbo said they should be ready for play in the heat of the summer this year.

Palumbo said the sport’s been gaining popularity here, following a national trend, and while pickleballers are “making do” on tennis courts around town, lined for the smaller field of pickleball play, they’re excited to have courts dedicated to their sport itself.

Palumbo said the village is donating site preparation at the courts next to the mountain’s parking lot. On Friday, a Department of Public Works crew was there, rolling the former parking area flat and preparing to lay down stones before HPPC brings in asphalt.

Palumbo said she’s grateful for the community support. HPPC has been working with the Saranac Lake Rotary Foundation, which is acting as HPPC’s nonprofit fiscal sponsor for the project, making all donations tax-deductible.

HPPC is raising the funds to construct the courts and has collected its goal of around $56,000, according to Palumbo. They’re still looking for another $1,000 in donations at their GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/6e11d4df.

Palumbo, a former tennis player, started playing pickleball in Florida when she overwintered there. A few years ago, she realized there was a group of people in Saranac Lake who would go to play pickleball at the North Country Community College gym, so she joined them.

The group decided they needed courts, so they formed the HPPC, which now has 45 paying members.

None of the courts in town right now are ideal, Palumbo said.

The NCCC gym isn’t lined for the sport so they’re sort of eyeballing where the edges of the courts are. But this is “better than nothing” in the winter, she added.

Courts at Baldwin Park on Lake Flower Avenue have been lined for pickleball, but the tennis net there is higher than a pickleball net. While the wind off Lake Flower does impact the path of the ball there, she said that happens anywhere they play outdoors.

There are also currently one tennis/pickleball court each at Pisgah and Garwood Park, on the corner of Ampersand Avenue and Broadway.

The Baldwin Park courts may be going away, though, as the village voted Monday to move forward with a grant application for redesigning the parks, which would remove the courts on Lake Flower Avenue. Palumbo and other pickleballers have expressed disappointment over this plan. She said when she travels around the country, she is more likely to visit a place where she can play pickleball.

As most pickleballers do, she pointed out that the sport is currently the fastest growing sport in the U.S. And the sport has been growing internationally. With the International Pickleball Federation touting 80 member countries currently, it has more than enough to make an anticipated bid to become part of the Olympics as soon as 2028.

Palumbo said she’s played with children and octogenarians. It’s better than tennis for seniors to play and more young people are getting into it, she said. She said the sport is easy to learn and fun to master.

The sport was invented in 1965 by three Washington state fathers, including former Congressman Joel Pritchard.

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox