Pickleball court replacement to go over budget

River Bend students enjoy some physical activity as they play on the Lincoln Park Pickleball courts. Park and Rec Director Joey Schugel said they didn't know they would have to replace the base as well as the surface of the court, so they underbudgeted.

NEW ULM — New Ulm Park and Rec recommended approval of a project to replace the Lincoln Park Pickleball Courts, even at a cost over $30,000 higher than budgeted.

The project originally cost $140,000 in the 2024 budget. The six pickleball courts at Lincoln Park are made from repurposed tennis courts. Park and Rec Director Joey Schugel said due to the aging of the tennis courts, it was discovered the project would take more than anticipated.

“We have a problem with our base there,” he said. “We had four contractors on site. Each of the contractors recommended starting over. Initially when we budgeted for this project we did budget for a more heavy-duty, longer-lasting surface. We didn’t necessarily budget for having to rip out everything and start over.”

Schugel said the surface they had in mind is Herculean PB Pro 7+2 outdoor surfacing. He said it had shown to hold up well to wear and tear when they did reference checks at two northern Michigan communities, which had had the surface for 12 years and seen no surface deterioration.

But on top of that, they would now need to remove the current base and replace it with a new asphalt base. The total cost of this project is now $172,792.

Commissioner Carisa Buegler asked Schugel if the courts were still playable. Schugel said with the light snow and relatively warm weather, the courts have fallen off fast.

“Because of such a mild winter we had we did have nets up on four of the six courts in January,” he said. “We’ve had pickleball 12 months of the year in some form or fashion and we have seen significant deterioration and cracking.”

Buegler asked what the timeframe would be for the project.

Schugel said they would have to coordinate with the project’s contractors, but if all went well the project would take four to six weeks to complete.

Commissioner Kurt Johnson asked if there was enough in the Park and Rec reserves to cover the un-budgeted amount. Schugel said he did not have the exact figure on hand, but there was much more than enough to cover the amount.

Commissioner Jim Jensen voiced his support for the measure; he said he has seen for himself that Pickleball is a thriving New Ulm sport.

“I’ve watched people play pickleball at the Rec Center and it’s fun to see how busy it is. It’s a great thing and it’s good for people, all ages really. It’s good for health reasons. There’s all kinds of people [who] really seem to enjoy it.”

Jensen then made the motion to recommend approval of the project and usage of reserve funds to cover what wasn’t budgeted for to the City Council. Johnson seconded the motion. The issue will now come before City Council, seeking their approval to move forward with the project.


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