The pickleball courts installed at Speer Park as part of the town of Oakland’s renovation project are a popular spot for players — sometimes as early as 7 a.m. The sport is gaining traction in the town — with both residents and those living outside of town — and there was talk of adding another court and even lights to extend the playing time.
But not all residents are in favor of that suggestion.
Michelle Territo, who lives near the courts, could not be in attendance at the May 24 Oakland Town Commission meeting, so she wrote a letter asking the town to reconsider any plans to add to the courts at Speer Park.
“If you feel the need for more courts, please consider another location,” Territo wrote. “I hate to be thought of as a complainer, but I equally don’t want to be thought of as someone who doesn’t say anything until it’s too late and then we lose our town charm.”
In the last year and a half, the town has been working steadily on improving the park, adding sidewalk, park benches, playground features, landscaping and other amenities. On the east side is a memorial area created as a Boy Scout Eagle project. Other playground pieces are being installed next month.
The next steps are to refurbish the gazebo and the junior basketball court. A butterfly garden, flower garden and additional landscaping are also in the upcoming schedule.
As for installing lights to the existing courts, Town Manager Steve Koontz suggested keeping the park hours at sunrise to sunset and not adding lights. The commission agreed by consensus to keep the hours the same.
“If you think another pickleball court is warranted, possibly one on the west side, maybe spread it out a little bit,” Koontz said. “We can always bring back the master plan and make the changes.”
Commissioner Mike Satterfield agreed another court is necessary.
“I think it behooves us to put in another pickleball court,” he said. “It’s become such a popular feature all over. … You might have to poll the neighborhood and possibly move it so it doesn’t get crowded over on the east side. … I had never thought about pickleball courts at any of the other parks, but maybe it’s something to look at, maybe at VanderLey Park.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS
• Town Manager Steve Koontz announced the town has received from Orange County the notice to proceed on its roundabout project on the west end of Oakland Avenue. Work was set to begin within two weeks. It should be completed by January 2023.
• The commission agreed by consensus to appoint Commissioner Joseph McMullen as a voting delegate for the Florida League of Cities 96th annual conference in August. Commissioner Sal Ramos will serve as an alternate.
• Commissioners approved the submittal of a grant application seeking funds to create an obstacle course-type playground at Oakland Avenue Charter School.
• The commission accepted an easement that allows for a roadway, Tilden Oaks Trail, and reclaim line to cross the West Orange Trail in the Oakland Park neighborhood. This portion of the trail is on former railroad bed solely owned by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida. The state granted the easement, and the town will eventually forward the easement document to the city of Winter Garden, which needs the same easement. Once approved by both entities, it will be sent to Tallahassee for execution.