City of Fitchburg City Hall March 2020

The outside of Fitchburg City Hall.

With the weather getting warmer, many Fitchburg residents have taken to playing pickleball at local parks. Pickleball has become so popular that many are suggesting expanding court size and adding more amenities.

And this was a big subject of debate at the May 9 Fitchburg Common Council meeting.

A budget proposal would provide funding to add more courts at McGaw Park. Those in favor said this would bring business to Fitchburg by allowing them to have tournaments and “make people very happy.”

There were many opposed to funding these courts for a few reasons. Gabriella Gerhardt, the District 2 Alder, raised equity concerns, pointing out that the city needed to carefully consider which groups are receiving funding and which are not.

“We have people here who ask us for money, and like Gabriella said, some groups are asked to raise money themselves,” District 4 Alder Jim Wheeler said. “And it seems like somewhat of an equity issue here and there’s no consistency, and I think there needs to be some consistency on how we actually disperse those funds.”

After some debate, the council took a vote. With a four-three split, the motion to include pickleball in the budget failed.

Speaking of the budget, in the administrator’s report, Chad Brecklin, the city administrator, said that the GOP adjusted budget plan would provide the city of Fitchburg with $500,000 of funding. Brecklin said this is less than the governor’s original proposal, but is still a substantial fund that would greatly benefit the city.

Additionally at the meeting, alders voted to approve the Fitchburg Sustainability plan. This plan, in partnership with Pale Blue Dot LLC, is an 18 month contract that will help the city focus on improving sustainability efforts.

Finally, in the mayoral report, Mayor Julia Arata-Fratta told the council she had found a speaker for the Fitchburg Memorial Day Service and reminded them to attend. More information about the event can be found at the Fitchburg website.

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