This Wednesday the Rec Commission will discuss an upcoming 5-month trial of an exclusive pickleball court at Beach Tennis Courts. The trial has sparked strong feelings, and protagonists and detractors alike are weighing in.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, and may also be attended via Zoom.
The agenda item, “Consideration of an Exclusive Pickleball Trial at the Beach Tennis Courts for a Five-Month Period from Feb. 27, 2023 to July 31, 2023 and Parameters for the Trial” is last on the agenda and will undoubtedly draw many commenters. (Several Letters to the Editor are below.) View full agenda HERE.
From the City of Piedmont website:
Trial of full-time pickleball at Beach courts begins Feb. 27
The City of Piedmont plans to hold a trial of full-time pickleball play at Beach courts starting Feb. 27, 2023. The trial, which was initiated by the Recreation Commission, is expected to last five months, through July 31, 2023. The Recreation Commission will receive an update and vote to confirm or modify trial parameters at their Feb. 15 meeting.
The goal of the trial is to help the City evaluate options for meeting rapidly growing community demand for pickleball play, which has skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade.
During the trial period, the Beach courts will be converted to pickleball play only:
• Court hours will be 9am-9pm (or dusk, whichever comes first)
• Courts will be locked in the evenings
• Organized drop-in pickleball play will be available Monday through Friday 10am-1pm
• Courts will be open for informal drop-in play during remaining hours
The Recreation Department will offer additional pickleball programming during the trial period to encourage more community members to try out the sport, including youth afterschool classes and free evening lessons for families and beginners. The Piedmont Pickleball Group plan to host a potluck event on March 4th to welcome new players and answer questions from the pickleball-curious.
Trial attempts to meet growing community need
Currently, kids, families and working adults have no place to play pickleball in Piedmont during the week. Pickleball is available only during limited designated hours, spread across Hampton, Beach, and the middle school courts on different days. Nets must be switched out at the beginning and end of every pickleball session.
During the trial period, pickleball hours at the Hampton courts will be suspended, making 8 of Piedmont’s 10 tennis courts available full-time for tennis play. The Beach courts were selected for the trial because they are the City’s least used tennis facility, and because they cannot be used for competitive tennis play due to their small size.
This trial will help the Recreation Commission and the City of Piedmont better understand the full scope of pickleball demand among our community. The February to July trial period was chosen in part because it allows staff to monitor court usage across two seasons, providing a more complete picture of how dedicated pickleball courts would be used in the long-term.
Multiple feedback opportunities throughout trial
Community feedback will be critical in evaluating the success of the trial. The Recreation Commission plans to invite input at two meetings during the trial period:
• April 19, 2023
• June 21, 2023
The City will invite feedback via a community survey in the Spring of 2023, after the trial has begun.
Beach courts scheduled for repair and restriping after trial ends
Beach courts are in poor condition and have long been in need of repair. The City has budgeted for the courts to be repaired at the end of the trial period.
When the trial is over, the Recreation Commission will consider all the feedback received, court usage patterns, participation in pickleball programming, and overall court demand across all City facilities to form a recommendation to the City Council on how to restripe the courts. Depending on the outcome of the trial, the courts will either be restriped as is (tennis and pickleball) or restriped for pickleball only.
Community members can send questions and comments to BeachPickleballTrial@piedmont.ca.gov.