Recent Developments and Postings
Official pickleball playing times are 9-noon, Monday-Friday. We have five outdoor courts and two available indoors at the Island Recreation Center at 20 Wilborn near the high school, and five outdoor courts on Adrianna Lane, off eastbound highway 278 between Squire Pope and Spanish Wells roads. The Adrianna courts are generally used by higher-skill players. Also, four courts are lined on the basketball area at the mid-island Chaplin Park, but there we must give way to basketball players. At all three locations, equipment lockboxes outdoors can be opened by club members who know the combination.
NEWS FROM TWO MEETINGS
1. Our club treasury balance is $26,767.61 as of March 31, as reported at a club board meeting April 11, 2019.
The treasury pays for expenses such as the materials for ball-stop fences (labor is donated by club members), new balls, other equipment, and services provided by the Rec Center. The main reason for building up our balance is to provide seed money for our ultimate project of a pickleball center.
Treasury income flows from sale of yearly and daily wristbands. So far through March, this year’s income is $10,254 ($8,560 from 214 club members; $1,440 from 441 daily players and indoor fees, and $254 collected from 61 daily players at Adrianna).
2. Later in the day, Frank Soule, executive director of the Rec, gave us a real boost with the Hilton Head Island Parks & Recreation Commission. At the conclusion of his presentation of the Rec annual budget request, he spoke strongly about the need for a dedicated pickleball center and recommended Chaplin Park as an appropriate location.
Earlier in that meeting, I informed the commission members that we would be seeking their help and guidance in establishing such a center as a Chaplin Park improvement, rather than a new project. The distinction is important; a park improvement can be accomplished much quicker than creation of a new facility. The latter is subject to the town’s new master plan and needs assessment program. I noted that a pickleball center near the current tennis courts would be an appropriate combination and would make use of existing infrastructure, restrooms and parking.
Commissioner Michael Ray made a special point of saying how reasonable our plan is.
Bob Soltys, David Aldrich and I are continuing this effort and see ways toward more progress.
FEBRUARY BOARD MEETING
The HHI Pickleball Club board met Friday afternoon (Feb. 22). The actions and topics:
We added club members David Aldrich and Joel Magee to the board. (A full listing of board members can be found at the directors link on this website.)
We approved a Charter and Bylaws for the club. A copy is now on the website at charter, bylaws, archives.
We drafted a statement of our relationship with the Island Recreation Center. Once it is accepted by the Rec Center director we will post it.
A priority list for Adrianna courts improvements will be put together by several of us and the Rec Center will address them.
We discussed next steps toward getting the pickleball complex built. Our immediate priority is site selection, and several of us are working on this. We will coordinate efforts with appropriate Town of Hilton Head officials. We are also continuing work on other aspects of our project goal.
All players need to have wristbands while playing, the board affirmed. When some players have them and others don’t, it raises questions about whether everyone is paying.
Afternoon pickleball has begun on Rec Center courts. In this experimental program, we keep at least one court going after the scheduled noon end of play. We are obliged to make way if basketball players need the courts, but so far none have appeared while we have played until 1:30 p.m.
-- Alex Cruden
JANUARY BOARD MEETING
Your board met and took some action on Thursday (Jan. 10) and later that day some of us attended a public workshop session of the town’s Parks & Recreation Commission. Here’s a summary on both.
The club board approved:
Purchase of plastic fencing of the kind we have been testing at the Rec Center. Including that one, we’re buying six 25-foot sections of green plastic mesh, two feet high, plus support stakes. Total cost will be less than $150. The lightweight fencing will be placed in the ground near the street-side ends of Rec courts, replacing the bulky black barriers.
As has been the case with the barriers, the fencing will need to be removed each day after play. But it’s easy to roll up and carry. We’ll go to the fencing as soon as a storage box is in place. Where we can’t stick fencing, we’ll still use some old black barriers – on the pavement between courts and the tables area where we gather.
We’re open to considering the same sort of fencing at Adrianna if needed. It appears impractical for the Chaplin courts. We continue exploring ways to set up portable and safe ball barriers on paved areas.
Purchase of a new tarp cover for the shelter at the Adrianna courts. Regular players there should choose, buy and install the tarp and give me the purchase receipt for reimbursement.
Adding board members. An email soon to club members will explain how this will happen. We are moving toward a more formal leadership structure for the club, which is a necessity as we seek government and donation support toward our goal of a dedicated pickleball center.
Members with particular skills and backgrounds are already participating in that effort.
One has volunteered to draft a formal charter for our club, which would make its mission clear, and another is working on the beginning of a business plan, which is essential for us to build official and financial support. We intend to begin serious discussions of fund-raising soon.
At the HHI Parks and Recreation Commission: This is the body that advises the town government about recreation priorities. At Thursday’s meeting it took no official action on our proposed pickleball center – but we received unofficial encouragement.
Commission members confirmed their approval of a master-plan process for all of the town’s recreation and parks. The mayor and Town Council appear committed to this approach as well, which involves a multi-step comprehensive needs assessment. That sounds discouraging to any pickleball player over age 60.
But during the meeting, Commission Chairman Ray Kisiah said pickleball needs to be in the master plan, and his predecessor and current board member Michael Ray spoke up for sports tourism. Kisiah said HH islanders have high expectations for high quality improvements and “we [commission members] can’t afford to blow it.”
What was even more encouraging was that Kisiah and Ray sought out Bob Soltys and me after the meeting. They said we were doing exactly the right thing by showing up at each of their sessions and speaking on the record (as I did Thursday) about how the need for a pickleball complex is starkly clear and has strong support in the community. Kisiah said (unofficially) that the town could decide to build a pickleball center within 2-3 years.
That’s what we will continue to press for in our politely persistent efforts. At some point soon we will ask you for large show-up participation.
-- Alex Cruden, club president
THE REC CENTER AND US
Our club’s board met Dec. 10 with Frank Soule, executive director of the Island Recreation Center, and some of his staff. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the relationship between the Rec Center and the HHIPBC, and how we can best work together.
We will now have a more formal relationship. Starting in January the club will pay $200/month for Rec Center support and services. This amount was determined by the number of staff-hours the center has been and expects to be providing.
The money that people pay to play – $3 for a day and $40 for 2019 – will continue to go to our club.
Other decisions included:
• The Island Rec Center Association is in complete support of our goal of a pickleball-only complex and looks forward to working hand-in-hand with us as we move forward.
• Discussions have begun with People for Parks (Alan Perry’s group) to create a relationship that will allow us to take advantage of their 501(c)(3) status and accept tax-deductible donations to the club, mainly for our pickleball-only project.
• Related to this, starting in January, club funds will be stored in a PFP account rather than at the Rec Center. The Rec Center will continue to collect the money from players, keep $2,000 on hand for expenses that the club board approves, and transfer the rest quarterly to PFP.
• The board approved buying portable barriers to keep balls from rolling away when we play inside and serve as separators when other groups are using the gyms. We would like to find barriers that would serve a similar function outdoors, particularly so we could make better use of the courts at Chaplin Park.
• Frank announced that Fred Lowery, athletics program director on the Rec Center staff, will now be our main point of contact. Bob Rozek will continue to be on our board.
Frank politely made another point -- our club has been loosely organized, with no elections to any positions. Board members and our president have been informally asked to serve. As we interact with the Rec Center Association, the Hilton Head community, the Town Council, People for Parks, the Greater Island Council and others, particularly to support our goal of a public pickleball center, it seems clear that we need to be structured more professionally.
As a first step, in light of his extensive work on the project and for the club, Bob Soltys is now board chairman. Alex Cruden continues as club president. They are both pleased with this arrangement, and welcome your thoughts about additional titles and duties for club leaders. Should we have a vice president and a treasurer? Periodic elections? If so, how should they be structured? Should we have written bylaws?
Bob and Alex have been very encouraged by your support to date and are happy to continue their efforts for the club.
CH2 MAGAZINE & HILTON HEAD SUN NEWSPAPER HIGHLIGHTS PICKLEBALL
The print version of CH2’S December issue has additional photos but you can read all of the copy here…http://www.celebratehiltonhead.com/article/5996/pickleball-is-hot-hot-hot
Read the article in the Hilton Head Sun here: http://www.hiltonheadsun.com/pickleball-mania-holds-court-in-the-lowcountry-cms-1889
Here’s a link to a Q&A explanation of the rules for various circumstances involving the non-volley zone, otherwise known as the kitchen: https://www.pickleballmax.com/2015/09/pickleball-faqs-volleys-groundies-and-the-non-volley-zone/
CLUB NEWS ITEMS, Nov. 29, 2018
The 2019 wristbands are now available at the Rec Center office. Your orange wristbands are good through the end of this year but you can start wearing the new blue ones as soon as you pay the $40 fee, and they’re good until Jan. 1, 2020. All players need to wear wristbands, so that there’s no question that everyone on the courts is paying a fair share for our equipment (including the website) and toward our goal of a dedicated pickleball complex.
We’re seeing a shrinkage at the Rec Center and Adrianna courts. Dozens of the relatively new Onix balls are gone. If some balls accidentally followed you home please bring them back. If a ball breaks please let us know. And just so there are no mix-ups, please do not bring your own balls to the courts if they look like the ones we use.