Last night, during the final Town Meeting until April, the Reading Pickleball Players Association (RPPA) withdrew their citizens petition for temporary pickleball courts at Symonds Way. During last weeks Symonds Way Exploratory Committee (SWEC) meeting, Michael Coltman announced that the RPPA would be withdrawing their petition at Town Meeting and it was made official last night.
Article 12 was seeking “To see if the Town will vote to transfer from the Reading Ice Arena Funds Account 4715 a sum or sums of money not to exceed $200,000 to pay to build eight (8) temporary, outdoor pickleball courts on the land adjacent to the Burbank Ice Arena off Symonds way, subject to successful negotiations of lease with the Burbank Ice Arena Authority and obtaining any required permits, or take any other action with respect thereto”.
Speaking on behalf of the RPPA board at Town meeting, Eileen Manning of Precinct 5, read the following prepared statement:
The RPPA was formed in January of this year to raised funds to help pay for dedicated lighted pickleball courts in town. When the courts in the Birch Meadow phase 2 plan were removed out of concerns for noise and congestion, we tried to find an alternative site in town that would be acceptable to neighbors.
In June, the Burbank Ice Authority made an informal offer to pave some of their parking lot and line it for pickleball. This seemed like an ideal situation, and we tried to act quickly to secure this location and get courts built in the 2024 construction season. We initiated a Citizens Petition to authorize funds for the construction of courts if agreements could be finalized as the normal article development process would not have been completed in time. We shared this proposal with many Town boards and committees who were not ready at that time to move forward with the plan and respect with respect for their perspectives, we are withdrawing drawing our citizen’s petition.
We still believe that Symonds Way is the right place for courts and that there is sufficient and growing demand for more and dedicated courts in town and we’ll continue to advocate for that with our local boards. We will also continue to raise funds and we currently have pledges for over $107,000 waiting for an approved location.
Many of us in town love playing pickleball. It’s easy to learn for all ages and abilities and has made a huge impact on many of the people playing it. If you don’t play now, we hope that you will try it out.
Thank you for your time.
After Ms. Manning finished speaking, Angela Binda of Precinct 5 and vice-chair of Rec and SWEC member, had a question for the RPPA. “Is your intention to work with the recreation committee going forward or is your intention to bring this back in April”? Ms. Manning replied “We don’t at this point have an intention to bring back a Citizens petition in April. You know it’s our goal to work with SWEC and with the Recreation board. Ms. Binda responded by also reading a prepared statement, which was eventually “point of ordered” by a member of Town Meeting and Town Moderator Alan Foulds agreed to direct the arguments on whether or not the article should be indefinitely postponed.
The motion then went to a vote and was indefinitely postponed by a majority of Town Meeting.
You can watch the complete replay on RCTV’s YouTube video below, queued up to the starting point of the discussion.