Officials at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of newly renovated tennis and basketball courts at Police Officer's Memorial Park in Wading River. Photo: Alek Lewis

Town officials this morning unveiled new pickleball courts at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton and renovated tennis and basketball courts at Police Officer’s Memorial Park in Wading River.

Town officials were joined by employees of LandTek, who were contracted by the town to do the improvements for the parks’ courts.

People at the Calverton Park broke in the new courts by playing pickleball, a paddle ball sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, and is popular among senior citizens. In 2013, Riverhead became the first town on Long Island to hold a pickleball tournament. The sport has become a popular sport organized by the Riverhead Recreation Department ever since.

The new pickleball courts at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton. Photo: Alek Lewis

“Supervisor Aguiar cannot be here today. I know she’s disappointed about that. But this is a really exciting day,” Deputy Supervisor Devon Higgins said. “Everyone’s looking forward to it. Obviously pickleball is hugely popular, so we’re really excited at the success of the courts already.”

Town officials were joined by Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio at the basketball and tennis courts renovated at Police Officers Memorial Park, formerly known as Bayberry Park.

“We’ve really been waiting a long time for these courts,” Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne said. 

“These courts were in such disarray, it was an eyesore,” he said of the Police Officer’s Memorial Park courts. “But to see what they look like now, it’s great. The aesthetics look great with the new fencing [and] brand new courts.”

The newly renovated basketball court at Police Officer’s Memorial Park in Wading River. Photo: Alek Lewis

Jennifer Shotts and Michelle Hart, both of Wading River, were playing tennis at the courts this morning as town officials arrived for the ribbon cutting ceremony. They said the new courts are a massive improvement over the previous courts, which were black top and didn’t lend themselves well to the bounce of a tennis ball.

“This is our first time here for the season. So this was a nice surprise,” Shotts said.

The new tennis court at Police Officer’s Memorial Park in Wading River was already in use. Photo: Alek Lewis.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]