DiZoglio Senate Amendment Could Bring Pickleball for Seniors to Haverhill’s Riverside Park

Players competing in pickleball. (Creative Commons.)

When the state Senate passed a $47.72 billion budget last week, it included earmarks for senior pickleball at Haverhill’s Riverside Park, prevention of student substance abuse and a youth and community center in Methuen, among others.

Sen. Diana DiZoglio was among senators statewide that tacked on an additional $63.7 million in spending. The Senate and House must now work out differences between their plans in a six-member conference committee. In separate amendments, DiZoglio called for $25,000 in additional fitness equipment at Riverside Park near Trinity Haverhill Stadium and $100,000 to construct pickleball courts.

“Pickleball is among the fastest growing sports in the United States, especially among our older residents—our seniors. The City of Haverhill has received many inquiries from the senior community about the possibility of installing pickle ball courts for exercise and enjoyment.” DiZoglio told her colleagues.

The sport uses wood paddles and wiffle balls. DiZoglio added the city wishes to repurpose part of an existing sports area to have pickleball courts next to tennis and basketball courts.

In addition, DiZoglio said placing fitness equipment will help bring families together. “We know in the past year and a half there were limited opportunities for people to get outside and get much needed physical activity that contributes to physical fitness but also mental health and emotional wellbeing,” she said.

Another DiZoglio amendment approved by the Senate would grant $20,000 to Students Against Destructive Decisions at Methuen High School. She said the program aims to prevent substance misuse from happening in the first place.

The senator also asked that $130,000 go to the nonprofit Inspirational One, which is overseeing establishment of the “first-ever youth and community center” in Methuen.

DiZoglio also convinced the Senate to provide money for a pilot program to develop community-based behavioral health sites for people under 60, as supported by Northeast Independent Living. She said money would keep people in their homes instead of institutions and allow them to transition out of nursing homes with dignity.

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