Further to yesterday’s article about the fire at the Memorial, home of the Santa Monica Pickleball Club (SMPC), the Santa Monica Pickleball Center stepped in and held a fundraiser last night with 85 people attending and $2,200 and counting being raised.
Over 1,800 Members
A suspect remains at large after a pickleball storage shed in Memorial Park at 1401 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404, was set ablaze, destroying thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
The fire erupted Monday night at Memorial Park around 1 a.m. and destroyed a storage shed that housed pickleball equipment, including nets, paddles, balls, and more. The blaze also damaged a nearby fence.
The Santa Monica Pickleball Club, a nonprofit organization, boasts over 1,800 members, offering the public free access to the sport.
Still Subject To An Open Investigation
Authorities are currently treating the case as a suspected arson, and this deliberate attack has left the community deeply unsettled. It hopes the arsonist is apprehended swiftly before another incident occurs.
Maryanne LaGuardia, representing the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission, stated, “It’s still subject to an open investigation, but it would be a pretty far reach to call it anything but arson.”
Local pickleball enthusiast Felix Liu was exasperated and asked, “It just makes you wonder who would do it and what their intentions are. Do they not like pickleball?”
Alley Liang, a resident of the locality, shared, “Just messaging with some of my friends who play here; they just can’t believe what happened. Who would do such a thing?”
A video showing the damage caused by the fire can be seen here.
Some believe this incident might have unveiled a more sinister side of the sport, possibly involving underlying tensions among different groups.
Lynn Soodik, President of the Santa Monica Pickleball Club, said, “Some people don’t like the pickleball community for several reasons. Tennis instructors now don’t give as many lessons at Memorial as they used to. Tennis players have less access. Also, there are some private pickleball players who don’t like the club because we provide public play for everybody.”
Despite the unidentified suspect, the Santa Monica pickleball community is gradually recovering from the devastation, with contributions from local players anticipated to replace the lost gear.
Indeed, apart from many generous donations from local residents, the owner of the Santa Monica Pickleball Center, Jon Neeter contacted Selkirk who agreed to donate nets, balls, and paddles.
The investigation is currently ongoing, and individuals with pertinent information are encouraged to reach out to the Santa Monica Police or the Santa Monica Fire Department.
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