Onset courts will get a new life

Jul 12, 2019

The Richard Brown Tennis Courts and basketball court at the Hammond School playground in Onset are undergoing renovations. When completed, there will be a new tennis court, four new pickleball courts, and a new basketball court.

The playground is owned by the Town of Wareham, and the approval for the renovations was granted at the Spring 2019 Town Meeting with funding from the Town’s Parking Receipts Fund. The Town has also received a donation from the Scotty Monteiro Jr. Foundation for new backboards and hoops for the renovated basketball court. Work began on Wednesday, July 10, and is expected to be finished in August of this year.

Ken Fontes, the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club, which adjoins the playground, said that he hoped that with the new basketball court, there could be basketball events with fees from these events going towards the upkeep of the courts.  The same could be done with pickleball events.

“I am really excited to see the space that the town had previously developed to benefit the community be returned to its intended condition. It’s sad to see this property deteriorate,” said one of the volunteers, Pat Lester. “I am thrilled to be able to work with a group of other like-minded Wareham volunteers to help get this done, and I think that this is what motivates everyone else.”

At the 2019 Spring Town Meeting, Town Administrator Derek Sullivan received approval to use $50,000 from the Onset parking fund for the project. Additionally, the Scotty Monteiro Jr. Foundation donated $7,000 for the basketball court renewal.

The tennis courts currently have a number of large cracks and part of the perimeter fencing is damaged.  All of the cracks will be repaired and filled with new tennis-court grade material, and then re-topped and painted with sealant paint, which prevents moisture problems, mold growth, and chalking.

New fencing will be put up to replace the damaged fencing, and contractors will remove large plant growth alongside the courts while volunteers will work to remove smaller ones.

One of the two tennis courts will be converted into four new pickleball courts with permanent nets. Pickleball is a sport that the USA Pickleball Association describes as combining elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton, and is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. It can be played by singles or doubles. Pickleball is one of the fasting growing recreation activities in the United States, and it has become particularly popular in Wareham over the last three years.

The project has been spearheaded by a coalition of Wareham citizens and community organizations, including Wareham CORE and the Boys and Girls Club. Upon the project’s completion, the group hopes to work with the Town Administrator and the Community Preservation Committee to secure additional funding to further beautify the Hammond Playground by installing handicap-accessible playground equipment, benches, and picnic tables, and making the entire area handicap-accessible.