Earlier this year, PRD announced a plan to eliminate tennis play at the Linda Beach tennis courts, proceeding with a pickleball-only trial in an effort to assess the need for dedicated pickleball courts and potential goal of establishing that at these courts. However, the current trial design has inherent bias and may be unjustified.
Over the past five years, pickleball has gained access to 4-6 courts 7 days per week — the same number as Alameda, whose population is ~8x that of Piedmont. So … how many players on our courts are also tax-paying residents of Piedmont? This question can be answered implementing the same resident-only decal system we have for tennis, while creating revenue needed to maintain the courts used by pickleball free of charge for the past five years. With this equitable and accessible solution, PRD can quantify Piedmont residents’ needs, monitor for growth within our community, and appropriately allocate resources.
The most disconcerting aspect of this trial is the unprecedented way in which it was planned and supported. The pickleball community has targeted these courts due to their upcoming scheduled maintenance, lobbying with PRD for their agenda of dedicated space. The fact is that you can play pickleball on a tennis court but you cannot play tennis on a pickleball court, and that every other recreation facility in Piedmont is shared.
Despite encouragement by the Rec Commission during the September 2022 meeting, PRD made the deliberate decision to not engage the broader community in advance of deciding on the trial parameters. This is also in direct contrast to the extensive outreach that preceded the 2018 introduction of pickleball to Piedmont tennis courts. Since receiving a negative response from tennis players and impacted neighbors, PRD has developed a dedicated email address to accept commentary. Unfortunately, PRD continues to demonstrate its predetermined position, evident in the biased language in the press release from two weeks ago describing the trial as a foregone conclusion. This language has effectively discouraged community input.
PRD and the pickleball community have created a site specific battle ground, and subsequent division within a community where we peacefully shared courts just weeks ago. This result, in which the local community feels marginalized, is in complete opposition of the core mission of a recreation department.
All Piedmont residents, please know that your input at the Feb. 15 Recreation Commission meeting can impact trial parameters. If you oppose this trial, please send your feedback to BeachPickleballTrial@piedmont.ca.gov.