Everything about pickleball has been on an upward curve over the last three years, but its rapid growth has been counterproductive for the City of Walker administrative body. Their initial promotion of the sport backfired on them when residents started to complain about excessive noise levels.
“Pickleball Not Allowed”
The tennis courts in Walker City Central Park have been displaying a pickleball not allowed notice for quite some time. However, that obviously hasn’t worked in quite the way the authorities would’ve liked, as they’ve recently had to go one step further and close the courts entirely.
Residents say that living on the cul-de-sac behind the court while pickleball is being played was akin to being next to a shooting range — with the constant pop, pop, popping of ball against paddle.
At one point during the pandemic in 2020, the City of Walker thought they’d welcome pickleballers to this spot.
Communications Manager for the City of Walker Nicole DiDonato said, “We wanted people to get outside during the pandemic, get some space, social distance, but also get some physical activity.
“With pickleball coming up and being popular, we actually tried to double our tennis courts into pickleball courts. It was extremely popular, and we were glad we were able to provide that for folks.”
Disregarding Posted Instructions
However, the city is now having trouble persuading pickleball enthusiasts to leave the courts or adhere to the established signage.
According to city authorities interviewed by FOX 17, pickleball players have gone to the extent of setting up their own nets, disregarding the posted instructions requesting them to refrain from playing.
There’s another problem too.
“We didn’t realize the sound, of course— we were actually violating our own noise ordinance in the city,” DiDonato said.
Without delay, the City of Walker took swift action to close down pickleball activity at the tennis court. They had to be seen as upholding their regulations and respecting their own guidelines and the residential area situated behind the park.
“We were putting a burden on our neighbors that really negatively affected their quality of life,” DiDonato said.
So now we’re back to the original thrust of the story. The city has found it necessary to close the courts to tennis players as well, citing the challenges of effectively monitoring the various groups of players.
Fortunately, pickleball enthusiasts still have an alternative court nearby, just around the corner from the tennis court. Additionally, there is another court accessible at Walker Community Park.
However, for the time being, the tennis court remains closed. City leaders have clarified that they are actively engaged in developing their Parks and Recreation Master Plan, with the intention of incorporating more pickleball courts in response to the growing demand.
These new courts would be strategically situated away from residential areas and might even become operational as early as the summer of next year.
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