History of the Pickleball Courts – 2018
According to Jeff Meeks, former Managing Editor of the Hot Springs Village Voice, the pickleball courts were originally opened for a tour on August 30, 2018, with play beginning on the new courts on September 1, 2018. There was also a Grand Opening on October 5, 2018.
“The courts are surfaced with the “Nova Ultra Cushion” sports surface, a nine-layer system to include five layers of cushion. Construction of the courts was done by Planit Dirt Excavation & Concrete Inc., and subcontractors Middlebrooks Electrical Services, Inc., Belk Fencing and Gerry Perry Tennis, Inc.,” according to Meeks.
“As interested Villagers and friends toured the court complex, several comments were overhead, including how nice they looked and how the surface will be much better on player’s knees.”
Randy Share, former Pickleball Club President said, “Our new playing surface reduces stress on joints by 10 to 15 percent versus playing on painted concrete or asphalt. Many players have already noticed a difference. We love the color scheme. Those colors just pop and the ball is easier to track.”
The full article published by Jeff Meeks on September 11, 2018, can be accessed by clicking here.
Unfortunately, the cushioned pickleball surfaced soon failed and that leads us to where we are today.
Pickleball Courts Failed Surface Due to be Repaired
At the Hot Springs Village June 16, 2021 Board Meeting Director Chris Jones made a motion to allow Interim General Manager, John Paul, to authorize an agreement with Australian Courtworks for the repair and resurfacing of 14 pickleball courts.
The bid was for $113,042.50 and does not include caulking of the construction joints. Staff will do the caulking for approximately $3,000. The cost for Australian Courtworks to caulk was $4,800.
Solicitations were sent to eight vendors but only three of them bid.
Australian Courtworks will remove the existing surface, prepare for the new surface and complete a new non-cushioned pickleball surface. This work will be completed by September 30, 2021, so the pickleball courts will be ready for the upcoming pickleball tournament.
The approved budget for this project was $120,000.
Director Avila said, “please explain why since the pickleball courts are relatively new, why we have to go through this?”
Stephanie Heffer, Director of Programs and Operations responded, “the original bids were sent out, the original requests were sent out with a cushioned surface. The specifications said nine layers of cushioning surface. That surface did not perform well in Arkansas climate and we’ve done a number of things to mitigate that. We have exhausted all of our resources through warranty to repair and brought in many experts, [It sounded like she said ‘more than 25.’] We’ve come to the conclusion that the best results, long-term, are to remove that surface and go with the traditional hard court.”
Avila asked, “so this is really a safety thing?…It’s really for the players’ safety?”
“Well, right now it is. Yes. There are large holes and tears and things like that,” explained Heffer.
Director Omohundro said, “we wanted something that we wanted and we got it and it didn’t hold up. And we were told it wouldn’t…in so many words. They didn’t recommend it here because of the climate. So we are back to what we should have done to start with.”
Director Belair stated, “players that I talked to told me that the surface bubbled and then water gets into it. So it was just ruination.”
Director Jones said, “would it also be safe to say that behind golf, pickleball is probably our second flagship paid amenity?”
Heffer responded, “between tennis and pickleball, yes.”
The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.12_Memo__Fact_Sheet_-_Motion_for_Pickleball_Court_Resurfacing_Project
By Cheryl Dowden, June 18, 2021
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