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City plans to place pickleball courts on site of current softball field

The city’s plan to build pickleball courts at Halls Ferry Park has taken another turn as city officials have been forced to pick another site at the park for the development

The decision also forced the Board of Mayor and Aldermen April 10 to amend the city’s $23,000 contract with Neel-Schaffer Engineers to prepare the design and specifications for the courts, increasing the contract by $9,000.

Under the amendment, Neel-Schaffer will perform a topographic survey of the site and make additions to the site plan package, construction plans and specifications.

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, who is over city recreation, said the courts will be relocated on the site of the former ladies’ softball field off the entrance to Halls Ferry Park near Fire Station No. 8. The original plans for the courts involved placing them adjacent to the tennis courts.

Building the eight courts adjacent to the tennis courts, Monsour said, was going to interfere with utility lines and trees and affect a nearby baseball field.

“We were going to have to dig up a dugout, a fence, and it drove the price up,” he said. “And the access to it (the courts) would have been right up on the parking lot.”

He said the ladies’ softball field was a natural site and the city will be able to build courts specifically for pickleball and players will have access to a restroom that will be remodeled as part of the development.

“It came down to economic feasibility,” Monsour said. “They (players) will have their own parking and their own restrooms.”

Also, he said, the location will provide a site for tournaments and room to expand the courts.

Pickleball is a game played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes that employs the elements of tennis, Ping Pong and badminton that is played both indoors and outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net.

The sport has become popular with many residents, who play at several local gymnasiums and on the Halls Ferry tennis courts, where the pickleball courts were lined off using tape.

But the tape used to line off the courts was damaging the tennis courts, emphasizing the need for building the new courts.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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