Opinion: Pickleball player pleas for additional courts in Scottsdale

Karen Weiss recently emailed the “Ranch Park” newsletter announcing: “Indian School and Scottsdale Ranch Park will be resurfacing tennis courts in late summer.”

Conspicuous by its absence in the newsletter is any mention of pickleball courts!

According to the USAPA (national pickleball association), 379 new locations have been established for pickleball through May of this year – 76 new locations per month!  For how much longer will Scottsdale residents have to travel to other cities to play pickleball?

I have been in Scottsdale since 1991 and through those 24 years, I have never felt discrimination as a Latino.  But now I feel discriminated against as a pickleball player!

Why can’t you convert two of Scottsdale’s 51 tennis courts into eight pickleball courts this summer so they will be ready for the fall when the pickleball season starts?  I suspect that by extending the hours of play for the remaining 49 tennis courts, you could more than accommodate tennis players.

Like tennis players, don’t we as Scottsdale residents have the same rights to have public courts for our sport?

Karen Weir told me she worries the sport of pickleball is noisy.  But, on Saturday morning, June 20, City Recreation Manager Terry Erickson visited the courts adjacent to Fountain Hills High School, and she told us she was surprised that the sound from pickleball is not much greater than the sound from tennis.

Karen, I wish you would also visit us so you can appreciate the sound for yourself.  And please be aware that the pickleball sound in Club Sar is louder than normal because that is a closed indoor space.

I can understand that tennis organizers and players around the country and locally feel threatened with tennis courts being converted to pickleball courts.  Pickleball is growing very fast.  One of the reasons for this growth is that some tennis players are switching to pickleball because the sport is more social, more fun, easier to learn, good exercise, less expensive, etc.

La Camarilla, a private racquet club on Shea, just a few blocks west of Scottsdale’s borders, has been constructing four more pickleball courts.  On Wednesday, July 1, they had a total of 10 pickleball courts, eight permanent and two temporary.

I recently played in Fountain Hills.  Despite the heat and three courts to play on, we had 17 players.  They recently announced that this summer they will be adding at least one more pickleball court bringing this small city’s total number of courts to at least seven for fall play.  When cooler temperatures begin, Fountain Hills courts will again be overcrowded.  And, so will the ones in La Camarilla and elsewhere throughout the Valley.

Terry, Karen, Scottsdale city officials: please give us public pickleballl courts so we don’t have to travel to other cities to play.

I have spent a lot of time researching and building a special website just for you ScottsdalePickleball.com.

Edior’s note: Eduardo Perez is a resident of Scottsdale.

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