On Monday night, March 14, the Town Council unanimously approved using a large portion of the federal Covid money for construction of an indoor recreation center for North Kingstown. Site selection, design, bidding, etc. to follow, as well as ensuring sufficient funding to cover the project. A great moment for North Kingstown residents!
Many thanks to those who spoke up in response to my earlier post:
“Why doesn’t North Kingstown have an indoor recreation center?” That is a question I hear often, most frequently from fellow pickleball players (pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America; Google it for more information). NK has a large and rapidly expanding pickleball contingent; dozens of us normally play at Wilson Park, weather permitting. But in the winter months those of us who remain “up north” tend to play at South Kingstown’s indoor rec center. It is so large and welcoming that South Kingstown has had to limit the days that non-residents can play there; it is not unusual to have 30+ participants lining the sides of the courts, awaiting their turns to play. This time of year I try to play there two or three times a week, and I always run into a half dozen or more NK residents. Back to Wilson Park – during the spring, summer and fall we often have 25 or more people playing or waiting for their turn on the four courts – all of which are desperately in need of repair. Some of our die-hard regulars even play bundled up during the winter. Cracks in the asphalt make playing challenging – you don’t always get a fair bounce. But it is a great game and we enjoy it. And it gets us outdoors and moving -- a good thing for most of us. Of course an indoor rec center wouldn’t just benefit pickleball players. NK doesn’t have a community swimming pool – a clear need. Kids and adults play basketball at Wilson Park during nice weather – they need an indoor place to play too. Others would benefit from having a community center for yoga, hobbies and special events. North Kingstown is rich in scenic beauty and variety. An indoor rec center would further expand its appeal, attracting new residents and benefiting current ones alike. It is hard to think of a more prudent investment in our community and the health of our citizens.
The Town Council is currently considering how to best use the Covid funds that are coming our way. If you agree that an indoor rec center would be an excellent use of these one-time funds, please add your voice by emailing TownCouncil@NorthKingstown.org. They expect to decide on the use of the funds in an upcoming Council meeting.
The availability of federal ARPA (Covid) money provides an opportunity for the town to do something big and exceptional, that would otherwise be hard to fund. This is an opportunity too good to pass up.