Pickleball plans in Penfield: Neighbors want trees preserved

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PENFIELD, N.Y. — Dozens of people showed up at Wednesday’s Penfield Town Board meeting. They aren’t happy with plans at the old Shadow Pines golf course. The town wants to put in 16 pickleball courts

The issue? Cutting down trees to put them in.

Town Supervisor Debbie Drawe said around $1.6 million has been set aside for this project, a quarter of a million through a state grant.

Neighbors say they’re not against pickleball courts — they just want to preserve the trees.

The debate over pickleball courts dominated the public comment at Wednesday’s meeting.

“They are taking so long to go forward. And we need it now,” said Jane Grace Taylor.

But timing is not her only concern — saving the trees is as well.     

“We need the oxygen flow. That’s why I invited them to look at Fellows Park. Fellows Park has trees everywhere. Mature trees, not just a few little bushes they put up. They preserved their trees when they built their courts.”

Initially trees along 20 to 30 acres were going to be cut down by the town of Penfield. 

Drawe says she understands and hears the community loud and clear — so they’ve changed the plan layout and intend to save the trees. But she wasn’t able to say how many of the trees would be kept since the plans are not finalized.

“It’s really a smaller footprint than 20 to 40 acres, or 20 to 30 acres,” she said, though she did not have the exact acreage.

Neighbors are pleading with the town to develop a plan that doesn’t destroy green space.

Jim Froom has been very outspoken about this issue. He even developed his own plan for the pickleball courts in which no trees would have to be cut down.

“We want to save as many trees as possible. We’ve worked hard to lay out all the facilities that they wanted to have — playgrounds, parking, walking trails, and the pickleball courts, to keep within the existing trees there. .

Drawe says they are also looking to add more trees to the northeast corner of Shadow Pines. Neighbors would rather not have trees added.

The Town Board is waiting to get the new plan that includes everyone’s input and present it to the community in two weeks at the next board meeting.