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Resignation leaves Ocean Pines racquet sports in limbo

Pickleball is a thriving sport in Ocean Pines.

Ten percent increase for pickleball being considered by board in next budget

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

(Jan. 25, 2024) Racquet Sports in Ocean Pines will continue on after the second departure of the director, Tim Johnson, whose abrupt resignation was announced by the Ocean Pines Association last Wednesday.

“The GM is evaluating the structure of the team at Racquet Sports. We’re confident the operation will continue to be a benefit to Ocean Pines homeowners, and we’ll announce more details as they arise,” read a statement provided by the public relations office.

Johnson resigned once before and was brought back and promoted to director, reporting directly to General Manager John Viola. His tenure was less than one year.

“It’s a shame,” said Cathy Noble, the chair of the Racquet Sports Advisory Committee.

She hopes the decision makers will identify a replacement who has experience with pickleball, the most popular and financially beneficial of all  the racquet sports in Ocean Pines.

She also suggested that the person have experience with running pickleball tournaments, which can bring in a lot of money and be familiar with league play. Noble also thinks the position should remain at the director level.

In the meantime, Noble is focused on next year’s budget. She said she is concerned about the potential of a 10 percent increase for pickleball membership that is being considered by the board, with no increase for the other racquet sports. She thinks a more equitable option is to increase all the memberships by 3 percent and raise the drop-in rate by 10 percent.

In the committee’s annual report to the board in preparation for the budget process, it requested a porta-potty be placed in the back area, near the Pickleball courts, since the bathrooms are a distance away from the back courts. Apparently, that has led to many members relieving themselves in the trees and bushes.

The report also suggested that drinking water access, which was discontinued during the covid-19 pandemic, be restored at the pickleball and tennis courts. It also called for an industrial court-drying machine that can be useful during tournaments, more shade structures, temporary tournament quality nets and lighting for night play.

The committee also suggested providing the option of a two-sport combo membership. Currently, there is a one- or three-sport option.