New splash pad, pickleball courts at Eisenhower Park in Milford

Kids enjoy splashing to beat the heat at Eisenhower Park.

Kids enjoy splashing to beat the heat at Eisenhower Park.

The highly anticipated and most recent upgrades to Eisenhower Park, a splash pad and pickleball courts, opened to the delight of the community on the hot, sunny holiday of July 4.

“The splash pad and pickleball courts are a great investment in our community,” said Mayor Ben Blake. “The recreational opportunities in Milford continue to expand. Rich Tomasco and our DPW team, along with great contractors like Pat Devine, EDO Construction, Wheelers Farm Enterprises, Concrete Creations and others helped deliver a world class facility in time to enjoy throughout the summer.”

The 200-acre park boasts numerous recreational amenities including eight brand new pickelball courts, miles of walking trails, tennis courts, a playground, ball fields and more. “Eisenhower is truly a community centerpiece of which we can all be proud,” said Blake.

Eisenhower Park offers an extensive network of walking trails, a community garden, lawns and fields, scrublands, the Wepawaug River, wetlands, vernal pools and forested areas and is host to numerous community events throughout the year.

The park provides a variety of habitats conducive to supporting native wildlife as well, including migrating and nesting birds and butterflies. Community volunteers and scouts help to enhance the work of the city, creating a popular respite area for residents to enjoy.

“From the recreation point of view, we are very pleased to add a wonderful new recreation facility to add to the overall enjoyment for the residents of Milford,” said Paul Piscitelli, Director of Recreation.

After being in the works for approximately two years and suffering setbacks with spring snow, “We opened the splash pad and pickleball courts on July 4,” said Chris Saley, Public Works Director. “That was our opening day, very exciting. We are working on a few small issues - we are giving the sod a chance to set up now. It’s a very big area, nice big splash pad, I was just there a little while ago, the kids are enjoying it, it’s a nice new addition to the City of Milford.”

Construction of the splash pad, which is approximately 75 feet by 75 feet in size, began in March, “and is made out of colored concrete but there’s a lot of prep work that we do, there are manifolds that control 27 or 28 different valves that control the different splashing components, the biggest one obviously is the big barrel that fills up and dumps about 60 gallons of water, it’s a lot of fun,” continued Saley.

The water used to run the splash pad (which has designated areas suitable for children of all ages), “is city water that comes off the regional water authority and we are in the process of being able to recycle it and use it at the golf course across the street for irrigation,” said Saley.

The park now boasts eight pickleball courts. The popular sport of pickleball is a paddle sport which combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. Two to four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules similar to those of tennis, with several modifications. Pickleball was invented in the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington as a children’s backyard pastime but has become one of America’s most popular growing sports among people of all ages.

“Pickleball is supposed to be the fastest growing activity in the U.S. - very excited about the courts, they are all open and ready for play,” added Saley.