Pickleball players Mark Gravante, left, of Auburn, Joe Berry of Auburn, Peggy Tilton of Buckfield and Normand Robert of Minot tap paddles after a game at Lewiston High School in October 2021. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal file

LEWISTON — The city is looking to build a four-court pickleball complex at 55 North Temple St., next to the fire department substation.

The Planning Board was slated to take up a development review and conditional use permit application Monday, as the city looks to offer more recreational amenities and jump on the nation’s fastest-growing sport.

The 9.8-acre parcel was purchased by the city in 2019 for the construction of the new fire department substation, and according to a city memo, staff is hoping to use the remaining developable area for a recreational use.

“The Pickleball Courts will provide an open, recreational area in an existing vacant portion of a property less than 0.5-mile from the McMahon Elementary School,” the memo said. “We believe the proposed use will compliment the nearby neighborhood and provide further opportunities for outdoor recreation.”

Pickleball, a game modeled after tennis but using a smaller court, has exploded in popularity throughout the country due to its accessibility. Groups in the Lewiston area have used area tennis courts with portable nets and lines, but if approved the North Temple Pickleball courts would be the first designated courts in the city. In the past, groups have played on the tennis courts at Lewiston High School and indoors at the Hasty Gym at Pettengill Park in Auburn.

According to the city memo, the project will be located on the southern portion of the lot, and will consist of four paved pickleball courts with perimeter fencing, as well as an access drive and parking for 10 vehicles. The project will also involve the creation of a stormwater detention pond, and a vegetated buffer along the street frontage. No lighting or utilities are proposed, it states.

The memo says funding for the project was included in next year’s Capital Improvement Plan.

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