HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Fixing cracks at Hackleman Park: The story

Written September 17th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

This is one of the long cracks in the four pickleball courts at Hackleman Park, photographed Sept. 13, 2023.

The pickleball courts at Albany’s Hackleman Park have developed a series of cracks, and here’s a story about efforts to get the playing surface fixed.

The City of Albany spent $330,000 to build 12 new pickleball courts at Linn-Benton Community College that were finished and opened to public use in July 2021. The four older courts at Hackleman Park remain in use, and because of their convenient location and perhaps other reasons some players prefer them.

I don’t play pickleball, but I suppose the cracks at Hackleman hamper playing there even if they don’t cause somebody to trip and get hurt.

The story is that some players have started raising money and lined up a quote from a local contractor to resurface the courts. But when they approached the city parks department, they learned that it’s not that simple.

“Since the work will be done for the city and on city property, we need to go through the city’s procurement process,” Parks and Recreation Director Kim Lyddane told me via email, and she added:

“Quotes for services on our property need to be requested by city staff so that they include our specifications as well as those mandated for city government. While the quote is currently right under $10,000, it was not requested and obtained with full knowledge of city requisites regarding insurance and other construction requirements. I let the group know that if they are successful in fundraising, we will certainly move through the procurement process as quickly as we can. With where we are in the season, and weather getting ready to turn, I do not anticipate it could get done prior to the spring. With that said, if the funds are raised, my hope would be for freshly resurfaced courts to be ready for prime spring/summer play.”

City Manager Peter Troedsson took note of the situation in his Friday report to the city council: “I very much appreciate and commend this community interest in fundraising for park maintenance, similar to the group who raised funds for the therapeutic spa [at the Albany Community Pool]. Pending their successful campaign, staff will try to accommodate our avid pickleballers by procuring the resurfacing as quickly as possible.”

Albany resident Stephanie Low called my attention to the Hackleman situation. She says the surface could be repaired quickly if the city signed a contract with the contractor lined up by the players, and the problem could be solved before the city’s formal procurement process even starts.

“I was thinking that the city needs to have a policy that allows citizens to donate their own funds to repair any city property so that the citizens can continue to enjoy using the site or equipment,” Low wrote in an email. “Nothing is getting done these days because of the common reason that there is no money to fix whatever. Well, concerned citizens are stepping up and donating money with no strings attached to get whatever is broken fixed. What is wrong with that?”

In public contracting, there are rules so that everybody gets a fair shake. Nobody hates useless red tape more than I. But I can also see that in arranging for repairs on public property, it’s best to follow the rules. (hh)

Here’s a closeup of cracks in the Hackleman Park courts. The quarter is there for perspective, making these two-bit cracks.

 

 





5 responses to “Fixing cracks at Hackleman Park: The story”

  1. Hartman says:

    Perhaps it is time to start charging all the Seniors who use these courts day-in and day-out. A User Fee charged against those Pickle-Ballers who are, in the vernacular, more bulked-up than what is typical. Kinda like a gas tax to maintain the roads, only a tax on Senior weight.

  2. chris j says:

    The pickleball court and pool are for private activities similar to the new additions to be built in the park that they recently cut down trees. Yet they have do not have money for park repairs? Surely the city masters of red tape could manage to scrape up money for all the needed projects without burdening the citizens. I am sure it would benefit the homeless some how if the city could get funding for it. They do use the parks and streets too. That could supply them with a loop hole in our favor for a change.

  3. Peggy Joyce says:

    There is zero reason why the parks & rec dept can’t have a fast track category for exactly this kind of project. To say “we will certainly move through the procurement process as quickly as we can” is the same rhyme an’ reason the LBCC courts were delayed over a year. Our city residents, who are taxpayers, deserve better than that.

  4. MarK says:

    Forget about the pickle ball courts. FIX OUR STREETS!

  5. Julie A says:

    We need pickleball courts in North Albany:)

 

 
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