“They do say it’s tennis, badminton and ping pong,” Monica Engel Williams said. Williams is the Palo Alto Pickleball Club President. On Monday, she showed what it takes to prepare for a match at Mitchell Park.
Blue lines across a dual-use court currently dictate where makeshift pickleball courts begin, and where permanent tennis courts stand.
“Right now, we have nets that we have to take out of the bag, put the nets up, take them down, put them away,” Williams described.
She explained these are tasks that can be a tall order for some seniors, and simply extra work for others. “In two years, we figured we had lifted seven-tons of nets, because they’re like 23 pounds each,” Williams said.
Pickleball enthusiasts in Palo Alto have spent about 2.5-years pushing for permanent courts at the park. Tennis players have pushed back.
However, the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission recently backed a plan- a compromise to accommodate all athletes. Palo Alto’s Director of Community Services, Kristen O’Kane told ABC7 News, “We scaled it back.” She said initially, there was talk about turning the dual use court into permanent Pickleball courts.
“We’re just converting the one tennis court to pickleball, and then building two new courts,” O’Kane said.
If approved by Palo Alto City Council, the one tennis court should fit four designated pickleball courts, equipped with permanent nets and all.
The hope is to help build a better Bay Area for a population dominating the game.
“It fosters a sense of community, especially for the senior population,” O’Kane explained. “Some of whom may not have interaction with anyone else during the day.”
The move for permanent courts would mean less time prepping, and more time playing pickleball.
Councilmembers are expected to decide May 20th. If approved, construction should begin in August, with completion in October.