The surge in popularity of pickleball has stung Denver’s Parks and Recreation Department into quite a bold step: Department leaders are considering allocating $2 million from the proposed 2024 budget, endorsed by the mayor, to construct new pickleball courts throughout the city.
A Legacy Fund
This funding stems from a legacy fund established by a parks tax approved by city voters in 2018, Scott Gilmore, deputy executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation, told axios.com.
This potential investment represents the city’s most significant commitment to pickleball thus far, indicating the public is showing a sustained interest in the sport. Additionally, it could address concerns about noise disturbances for neighboring residents and a shortage of available court space for players.
Gilmore emphasizes the intention to select locations that won’t create conflicts for pickleball enthusiasts.
Courts To Be 500 Feet From The Nearest Residential Area
The city’s plan entails the construction of 6 to 10 pickleball courts situated at least 500 feet away from residential areas, although not all sites have been finalized.
One confirmed location is Martin Luther King Jr. Park, where officials intend to use a portion of the $2 million to expand the courts from 4 to 10 — establishing the largest concentration of courts in the city.
Gilmore estimates the cost of building a pickleball court to range between $400,000 and $500,000.
The Denver City Council is currently conducting hearings on the budget proposal and will present potential amendments to the mayor next month. The final budget plan is slated for approval in November.
Four Outdoor Courts
Denver Parks and Recreation also provides six locations with four outdoor pickleball courts each:
– Northfield Athletic Complex
– Martin Luther King Jr. Park
– Skyland Park
– Huston Lake Park
– Bear Valley Park
– Eisenhower Park
These courts operate on a first-come, first-served basis and are free of charge. Additionally, the department offers indoor courts in recreational centers throughout the city.
These indoor facilities may now play a larger role in the pickleball scene after the April 2023 moratorium on play at Congress Park, a popular pickleball location, due to concerns about noise and parking.
Lake Park And Rosamond Park
Plans for additional courts at Sloan’s Lake Park and Rosamond Park were on hold as officials worked to balance feedback from local residents, noise ordinance restrictions, and the growing demand for pickleball.
For more extensive play options, Cherry Creek’s Gates Tennis Center offers 10 pickleball courts for rental at $6 per hour daily.
Alternatively, you can reserve a drop-in spot for $9 per session (or opt for an eight-pack at $45) and test your skills against local players during various open-play sessions throughout the week.
Exciting news on the DMPA front… we are looking for new Board members to join our team! Are you enthusiastic, dedicated and interested in an engaging… https://t.co/SMeLyHDQpo— Denver Pickleball (@PickleballColo) May 16, 2019
Further northwest of the city, Arvada’s Simms Street Recreation Center boasts an impressive 24 outdoor pickleball courts.
During June, July, and August, the facility offers free play from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, with leagues utilizing most courts in the evenings. On weekends, the facility is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Residents can secure a court for $10 per hour, while nonresidents pay $12 per hour.
Cornerstone Park’s six courts are ideal for evening play due to their year-round push-button-operated lighting.
Court reservations can be made online, with pricing ranging from $10 to $30 per hour, depending on residency and time slot.
Denver Parks and Recreation offers various learning opportunities for pickleball enthusiasts, ranging from a four-week Pickleball 101 course to single-day workshops for more advanced players.
Clinics are hosted throughout the summer at the Gates Tennis Center, Apex’s Simms Street Recreation Center, and South Suburban Parks and Recreation’s Cornerstone Park.
Since May, players on the north side of the metro area can learn on Boulder Pickleball’s five indoor, garage-door-adjacent courts.
Gates Tennis Center also introduced a new nine-week, co-ed Pickleball Top Dog doubles league for those seeking competitive play in the past spring.
Simms Street’s popular annual Apex Foundation Memorial Day Pickleball Tournament, which registered 320 teams in 2023, offers a wide range of categories for players 18 and up.
Eating And Dinking
You can enjoy pickleball at some designated bars in the city.
An eatery in Superior began testing this concept locally in 2021 with four outdoor courts. Early in 2022, Pickleball Food Pub opened its doors with eight indoor courts and a full bar in Westminster.
This spacious facility hosts leagues, can be reserved for events like birthday parties or team-building, and provides lessons for both beginners and experienced players.
On weekdays, court fees range from $36 per hour before 4 p.m. to $40 per hour during busier times and on weekends. Membership, priced at $175 annually, includes certain perks and discounts.
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