Officials unveil new basketball, pickleball courts at Wolfe Park

MONROE, CT — Children played pickup basketball games on the newly surfaced courts at Wolfe Park Tuesday evening. Moments earlier, town officials had celebrated a ribbon cutting ceremony, officially opening the new play space, which is also made for pickleball.

“I’m so proud of this new court,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said after cutting the ribbon. “I want to thank everyone. There are so many people involved.”

Among those the first selectman thanked were members of Monroe’s state delegation, who helped him secure a $150,000 state grant for the $322,000 project, which was built by Hinding Tennis LLC, a West Haven firm.

“The vast majority of the project was done without using local tax dollars,” Kellogg said.

In addition to the state grant, around $27,000 was used from the Parks and Recreation Department’s operating budget, with the rest of the money coming from program revenue, according to Kellogg.

Members of Monroe’s state delegation, who helped secure the grant, are Rep. Tony Scott, R-Monroe, Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, and Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport.

Kellogg said the two old cement courts were in rough shape. Parks and Recreation Director Missy Orosz said she wanted to do the project in 2020, though it was delayed due to the pandemic and rising construction costs. The town patched up damaged areas until all the funding became available.

Once construction started, the project took just under three months to complete. “This is the fastest project in the six years I’ve been here,” Orosz said.

The new courts are made with post tension concrete to prevent cracking and one of the two basketball courts has white lines marking off two new pickleball courts.

“During the daytime, when kids are at school, these courts are usually empty, while the pickleball courts are full,” Orosz said, “so one court has two pickleball courts, giving us eight available pickleball courts for the Wolfe Park complex.”

The first selectman credits Orosz and Community and Economic Development Director William Holsworth with the decision to use Monroe school colors for the court: red, black and white.

The new basketball hoops have adjustable handles to make it eight or 10 feet high.

Among those attending Tuesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony were Kellogg, Holsworth, Orosz, Economic Development Commission Chairman Ray Giovanni, Human Resources Director Craig Hirsch and Recreation Supervisor Connor Negri.

Parks and Recreation Commission members Dawn Barbierri (vice chair), Patricia Tomchik and Andy Csire also participated, along with Parks Maintainer Jack Eck and Public Works Foreman Shane Everett.

Orosz said Eck and Everett did a lot of the prep work, before the site was ready for construction.

Parks and Recreation Director Missy Orosz, center, congratulates knockout winners Dom Recco, left, and Brody Philbin.

She said the resurfaced basketball courts will allow Parks and Recreation to bring back the men’s basketball and summer middle school basketball programs.

“And we have a Super Tots program we’ll bring back,” she said. “Most things will be back in the spring.”

A bulletin board will be installed alongside the courts with a chronicling of activities.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, children had the choice of playing a game of “knockout” on one court or a pickup basketball game on the other.

Dom Recco and Brody Philbin won games of knockout and each received a $50 gift certificate to be used toward a Parks and Recreation program and a free basketball.

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1 Comment

  1. Editor’s Note: The amount of money from the operating budget was wrong when the story was first posted. It has since been fixed to say $27,000 was used.

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