PORTAGE – The latest upgrade to Crichton-McCormick Park may introduce what is billed as the nation’s fastest-growing sport to the Portage community.

Borough council last month awarded bids totaling $71,269.90 for paving and new fencing of a deteriorated asphalt near the park tennis courts.

Although council originally considered the location for a pickleball court, the bid advertisement identified it as a tennis court, Borough Manager Robert Koban reminded council on Monday.

Koban said he talked to representatives of the paving contractor, J.W. Fleming Inc. of Duncansville, who said it would be no problem to mark the pavement for pickleball.

“They said, ‘It’s just lines on the court. Tell us what you want,’ ” Koban said at Monday’s council meeting.

Borough Engineer Brian Shura, of Stiffler McGraw said, by using two different paint colors, it’s possible to put lines for both pickleball and tennis on the same section of pavement.

Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels that combines elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong, the USA Pickleball Association says on its website. The game is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net, a special paddle and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a Wiffle ball.

“From everything I hear, it’s the fastest-growing sport in the U.S.,” Koban said. “We have two tennis courts down there now.”

Council directed Shura to explore the logistics and present drawings of what the dual-striped courts would look like for the April 19 council meeting.

Construction begins later this month and is scheduled for completion by May 28.

Flooding concerns

In other matters, council discussed options to create a stormwater fund to develop solutions to ongoing flooding and runoff issues.

Borough Solicitor Michael Emerick said any stormwater fees collected from property owners should be handled by a stormwater authority created by the borough or delegated to the existing Portage Water Authority.

Council could raise the money itself with a bond issue that would be paid back through borough taxes, he said.

“If you are dead set on doing this, you are going to have to have some funding,” Emerick said.

Asked about the availability of state grants, Shura said there isn’t much funding for storm sewers.

“You have to have a funding source before you can get any grants,” Shura said.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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