Letters to the Editor: July 27, 2023

Pickleball nurtures spirit of Charlotte community
To the Editor:

I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the town’s pickleball courts, and the positive impact they’ve had on my daily life. These courts provide me with a fun and engaging way to stay active. The atmosphere is always filled with laughter, encouragement and camaraderie, which truly nurtures the spirit of community here in Charlotte.

I would like to see the Charlotte Recreation Commission and the selectboard approve the proposed contract modification to establish four permanent pickle ball courts, and have pledged financial support to help pay for this work.

Charlotte Addison

Pickleball players welcomed this novice to the sport
To the Editor:

I’m writing to express support for the needs of the enthusiastic, growing, pickleball community in Charlotte. I started playing pickleball through the rec department last year, where my introduction as a novice was welcoming and instructional. I now play daily, when able, with an enthusiastic group that numbers 50-70 people overall. Most of the group lives in Charlotte, though we have a few from neighboring towns.

When the weather is good, we often have five courts going at a time with four people per court, while other players wait to circulate in. Even when the weather has been wintry or wet, we find ways to play between raindrops or among snowdrifts. The point is: It’s a fun and healthy game accessible to many in the community at little cost, without barrier as to age or ability, and is played in Charlotte with humor and the opportunity for positive social interaction.

I hope the recreation commission and the selectboard will support the modification of the current resurfacing and repainting contract to allow configuration of four permanent pickleball courts within the current tennis court area. Both sports may be accommodated with thoughtful planning, and this change will help accommodate our community’s robust interest in pickleball. I have pledged financial support to help pay for this contract modification, as have many in the pickleball community.

Susan Hong

Pickleball helped navigate COVID and loss of a parent
To the Editor,

I am writing in support of the proposed modified contract to repair and resurface the courts at the town beach.

Please note that I write as an individual and not as a member of board of directors for The Charlotte News.

I learned to play pickleball in the fall of 2019 from Greg Smith through Charlotte Recreation Department programming. The welcoming culture and relaxed social nature of pickleball certainly helped carry me through the pandemic, retirement and the death of a parent. I am happier and healthier as a result of pickleball and greatly value the access to play in my own town.

There is an already robust and growing community of pickleball players of all ages and abilities. I encourage the recreation commission and the selectboard to consider the many Charlotters who are actively playing pickleball and approve the contract modification to install four permanent pickleball courts. There will still be adequate court space for tennis players, and pickleball players have pledged to cover any additional costs.

There is sometimes some eye-rolling at the mention of pickleball as the game has received so much buzz, but just as I love to see children climbing all over our beach playground, it is great to see so many people exercising and enjoying one another at our beach courts.

Meredith Moses

Pickleball is athletic and generates camaraderie
To the Editor:

I am in full support of converting the westernmost tennis court at the town beach into two to four permanent pickleball courts.

I have been playing pickle ball here for about two and half years. I started playing after my second knee replacement surgery and decided to try pickleball instead of going back to tennis right away (which I have played for over 45 years) because it seemed a gentler way to re-enter playing a court sport.

Pickleball can be slightly addicting because it is such a fun sport. It’s not only the athletic aspect of pickleball, but also the camaraderie it generates and the joy of playing the sport outdoors, year-round.

I have played four to six days a week regularly and have only seen tennis players needing one of the three courts during any of the times I’ve played there.

Depending on how much of the extra cost is paid by the town, I’ve pledged to contribute financially because it is such a worthwhile project for the town to provide this opportunity to our community.

Pati Naritomi

Pickleball helps with mental and physical health and laughter
To the Editor:

Pickleball helps us with mental and physical health. Laughter is said to be the healthiest thing we can do and here in Charlotte we laugh.

The level of play does not matter. The exercise you get is totally yours and to whatever level you are comfortable with.

We play almost every day, therefore we get outdoors and laugh almost every day. Think about it: What else does this for us? Pickleball has become the greatest new game, especially for seniors.

Dave Raymond

Support for modifying existing contract for court repair
To the Editor:

My wife and I are very fortunate to be part of the pickleball community here in Charlotte. Though we have lived here for many years, playing at the beach courts and being part of this community group has done more than anything else to help us feel we have solid roots in our town.

We play at least three to four times a week and have done so for the last three years. We have played in all seasons and devote our time and efforts, along with many others, to preparing and maintaining the courts.

We hope the recreation commission and selectboard will approve the modification of the existing court repair contract to support this activity by such a large number of Charlotte residents. As needed, we have also agreed to help pay the additional cost.

Richard Howson

Good problem: So many pickleball players, not enough courts
To the Editor,

It is a good problem to have: There are so many people participating in an active outdoor year-round sport that there’s a need to modify the existing tennis court resurfacing contract to add four permanent pickleball courts. Pickleball has quickly become so popular, because:

  • It appeals to all ages and abilities.
  • It is open and inclusive with more experienced players teaching newbies, with people bringing visiting guests to play and with our collaborative round robins.
  • It creates opportunities for townspeople to meet one another when otherwise that may not happen. Perfect during a pandemic, during retirement, during summer.
  • It is a year-round outdoor sport, as demonstrated by the polar picklers, an open group of hardy and humorous souls who play in the winter.

The Charlotte beach courts have attracted many who have now found new friendships, connections and town spirit. A look at the participation rates is also instructive — I play for an hour and a half about three to six times a week throughout the year. And every time I play there are between eight and 22 players.

Never have I seen three courts filled with tennis players, and almost every day, there’s a large enough group playing pickleball that we need to set up portable nets. However, it is also our practice to relinquish a tennis court in the rare event that players with long racquets show up.

I, among many, pledge to chip in to help cover the extra cost of this modification. I encourage the Charlotte Recreation Commission and Selectboard to approve a modification to the contract and create four permanent courts on one of the tennis courts.

And then, I encourage you all to come out and play.

MaryAnne Gatos

Pickleball great for families, welcomes all ages and abiities
To the Editor,

Over the past two years I have come to love the game of pickleball. I have had the privilege of being part of an amazing group of people who show up at the Charlotte Town Beach day after day throughout the entire year to enjoy this growing sport. Every day, 4-50 people play pickleball on tennis courts, which are rarely used for the sport they were originally designed to play.

I have not used the Charlotte Town Beach courts as much over the past few months because of its current state, but instead have been playing at other courts including Szymanski Park in South Burlington, Pearl Street in Essex and Rossignol Park in Essex. Most of our surrounding towns have invested in these permanent courts designed specifically for pickleball. Not only are they much more conducive to playing the sport, but they also are bringing community, families and friends together to be active.

On many Sunday evenings, my family — husband, 14-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter — head down to the Charlotte Town Beach for a fierce family competition of pickleball. Often on these nights, we are joined by other families playing pickleball with their own families and friends. Pickleball is a great sport that welcomes all ages and abilities.

We hope the recreation commission and selectboard will approve the installation of permanent pickleball courts for all families to enjoy. We would be happy to contribute in any way that we can to make this project happen. We believe strongly that we need to continue to add and invest in our parks and our community.

Lynn Pitcavage

Flood relief for businesses
To the Editor:

As you are aware, the recent weather has caused significant damage to the Central Vermont area. In light of this, the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce has organized a Flooded Business Relief Fund, aimed at providing financial aid and support to businesses who have suffered losses and need assistance with their recovery efforts. This fund is not only available to our valued members but also to all businesses located in the Central Vermont region, specifically Washington County and Eastern Orange County. We believe that by extending the support of the Flooded Business Relief Fund to a wider community, we can collectively contribute towards rebuilding Central Vermont.

To ensure transparency and ease of access, the Flooded Business Relief Fund is accessible through our website. We invite community members, businesses, and organizations alike to donate. Even the smallest contribution can have a profound impact on helping affected businesses get back on their feet. Remember, these aren’t just businesses; they are our friends, our neighbors, and in some cases, our family. Please note any contributions made through the website will have a credit card processing fee deducted from the donated amount. If you’d prefer to contribute via check and avoid the processing fee, checks can be mailed to Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 336, Barre, VT 05641.

As we move forward, let’s continue to support local businesses and organizations. We are immensely grateful for any assistance you can provide, whether through a donation or by spreading the word about the Flooded Business Relief Fund. Every contribution, big or small, will go a long way towards helping businesses in Central Vermont recover and thrive once again.

Naturally we’re aware the storm impacted the entire state, but the impact on Central Vermont was exceptional. Given that most resources currently are being allocated to address humanitarian concerns (and rightly so), we wanted to look past the immediate crisis and help local businesses rebuild as well. We also understand that there are a number of scams circulating already, so I would be happy to discuss and address anyone’s concerns about this fund.

More information can be found at our website.

Kevin Eschelbach
President of Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce