Municipal officers say they’ve seen a steep improve this fall and winter within the variety of individuals taking part in platform or “paddle” tennis on New Canaan’s town-owned courts at Waveny Park.
Revenues generated by way of promoting permits and visitor passes for the outside sport have already got surpassed $70,000 for the paddle tennis season that began in early-October, in comparison with anticipated revenues of about $46,000, in response to Recreation Director Steve Benko.
Up to now two paddle seasons, which run by way of mid-April, the city has taken in a complete of about $56,000 (fiscal 12 months 2020) and $46,000 (fiscal 12 months 2019) in revenues, Benko advised members of the Board of Finance Park & Recreation Price range Subcommittee throughout an everyday assembly Monday.
“Paddle goes loopy,” he stated through the assembly, held through videoconference.
“We’ve had an impressive 12 months up to now in paddle tennis. Our revenues are manner up in paddle. Individuals are taking part in in a COVID 12 months, it’s superb. Folks need to be exterior.”
The feedback got here as Benko mentioned the Recreation Division’s proposed spending plan for fiscal 12 months 2022 with Subcommittee members Amy Murphy Carroll, Michael Chen and Tom Schulte prematurely of Thursday’s common assembly earlier than the total finance board.
Benko famous through the assembly that the city is seeing robust curiosity in courtroom use and reservations, in addition to clinics and classes for an additional outside sport, tennis, at Mead Park and New Canaan Excessive College. The Subcommittee members urged Benko to deliver exhausting numbers in regards to the rising recognition of each sports activities, and different packages from the Recreation Division, to the price range listening to this week.
City funding our bodies can be desirous to fund the enlargement of fashionable packages that profit residents—notably those who pay for themselves—and enchancment of related services.
“I believe it’s an ideal alternative so that you can profile what the Rec Division does and the way it supplies companies,” Murphy Carroll advised Benko of Thursday’s full finance board assembly.
Chen stated there are “enormous alternatives for added income with paddle.”
He stated that paddle-only golf equipment exterior of New Canaan value $500 to $900 to hitch (the city fees residents as much as $140 for a season cross, and the visitor charge is $10 per hour per visitor).
“We cost such a low worth for taking part in paddle, I believe individuals would pay extra underneath one circumstance,” he stated.
Relatively than limiting use of the stone-clad paddle hut to when an attendant is on-site, Chen instructed the city “put money into safety cameras.”
“You pay for safety cameras so you’ll be able to see who goes out and in of the hut, give a mix—that is what different golf equipment do—give a mix for the members to make use of it, they usually use it every time they need,” he stated. “They’ve a membership and it prices double—let’s say $200 as a substitute of $100. You could possibly pay for the safety cameras, you possibly can make the members a lot happier as a result of they might use it any time of day. There doesn’t should be an attendant there. It’s a win-win and you possibly can make more cash from the membership. As a result of that’s what different golf equipment do.”
Benko responded that Chen was referring to personal golf equipment, “that are totally different” from the Waveny paddle hut and courts.
“We’re in a public park, the place you’ve individuals all over coming in,” Benko stated.
He added that the attendant is on web site from the morning by way of early afternoon after which off for a number of hours till 5 p.m.
But “you don’t have all of it 12 months spherical, Steve,” Chen responded.
“Folks play paddle all 12 months spherical now,” he stated. “You solely have it within the fall, it shuts down.”
Chen instructed that New Canaan provide a year-round allow.
Murphy Carroll famous that New Canaan residents contributed to the rebuilding of the paddle hut “so we must always get it open for individuals.”
“I need to be sure that New Canaan residents have the chance to make use of it first,” she stated.
When Benko voiced considerations about leaving the paddle hut unmanned by an attendant, saying that individuals may steal issues from it, Murphy Carroll stated that’s what the safety cameras are for. Schulte added that the Rec Division paddle courtroom attendants aren’t employed or skilled to intervene within the occasion of legal acts resembling larcenies.
Benko stated that the city maybe may have an attendant employees the courtroom on the three hottest nights all through the summer time from 6 to 10 p.m.
Chen stated, “Ideally, when you have a mix of safety cameras, then they will use it on a regular basis.”