Haverhill Moves Ahead with Building City’s First Public Pickleball Courts in Riverside

Players competing in pickleball. (Creative Commons.)

Haverhill is moving ahead with plans for the city’s first public pickleball courts.

The city received the OK from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation after, as WHAV previously reported, state Sen. Diana DiZoglio secured $100,000 in this year’s state budget to begin building at Riverside Park.

“The pandemic has magnified the importance of outdoor activities, with more and more residents looking for additional recreational opportunities,” DiZoglio said. She called Riverside Park a resource that not only serves Haverhill residents but countless residents across the Merrimack Valley.

Pickleball is like tennis but is played with wooden paddles and a Whiffle-type ball on badminton-sized courts.

“Pickleball is growing in popularity throughout the country, especially among older adults,” Mayor James J. Fiorentini said. “A lot of people tell me they play and have been asking for us to put in some courts in one of our city parks.”

The city is looking at replacing existing tennis court behind Haverhill stadium on Lincoln Avenue with the new pickleball courts, although Human Services Director Vincent Ouellette said other locations in the park are also being considered. He said the plan is to begin preparing the pickleball site within the next few weeks and that construction is expected to begin in spring.

Ouellette said DiZoglio also secured another $25,000 in recreational grants to renovate existing basketball courts and make other improvements in the sprawling and heavily used Riverside Park that includes playgrounds, multiple sports fields, walking trails and a dog-walking area. Some other improvements being considered are an adult workout area and cornhole equipment.

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