Want to play pickleball at Cpl. John A. Seravalli Playground in New York City? Keep your paddles at home. The sport is now officially banned at the park.
The Washington Post recently ran a story on the conflict between pickleballers and parents at the once-acre park in Manhattan’s West Village community.
The conflict started earlier this year when New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation carved out two pickleball courts at the small park. But according to the Washington Post story, parents and children say that the two courts weren’t enough for the area’s pickleball players, with the picklers steadily taking over the entire playground area. The players spread out so much that they crowded out kids wanting to ride bikes, skate or play catch, according to the Post’s story.
Picklers vs. parents
According to the story, the battle over playground space often turned ugly, with confrontations frequently breaking out between parents and pickleballers.
A group of parents, who called themselves Families United for Open Play, created a petition earlier this year to save Seravalli Playground from what they dubbed a “pickleball takeover.”
As of December 23, the petition had generated 3,295 signatures at Change.org. That’s an impressively high number, but is short of the 5,000 signatures that owners had wanted to generate.
Without any input from the community, the NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation quietly approved two large pickleball courts that now dominate the open play space. Players now endlessly swarm the playground daily, spreading out far beyond their two courts, effectively overtaking the entire playground during peak times. The children have been squeezed out and many have stopped going altogether. Pickleball courts clearly cannot coexist in a widely used community playground. Pickleball, like tennis, requires large, designated courts to protect players and non-players. It is dangerous and unfair to the children to let this sudden land grab happen at their expense.Change.org petition, Families United for Open Play
New York City’s parks department effectively banned pickleball from the playground on Nov. 30. That’s when parks department workers removed the pickleball lines from Seravalli and posted a sign stating that the sport was no longer allowed in the playground.
The sign did direct pickleball fans to three nearby courts where they could play the sport. The Washington Post reported that the parks department also created two pickleball courts at J.J. Walker Park, which is located less than a mile from Seravalli.
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