Scottsdale opens new pickleball courts Dec. 4 at Cholla Park

It all started on a hot summer day in June.

Kira Peters

Kira Peters is the City of Scottsdale Parks and Recreation Manager.

I opened a pickleball e-mail from a citizen inquiring about the lack of public pickleball courts in Scottsdale. I consider myself to be an experienced recreation professional and had certainly heard of pickleball, but little did I know that Scottsdale Parks and Recreation was about to paddle our way into pickledom.

The City of Scottsdale’s first municipal, outdoor pickleball courts will open Friday Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. with the honorable Mayor Jim Lane cutting the ribbon at Cholla Park, 11320 E. Via Linda Scottsdale.

The community can then rally the pickleball on the eight new courts until their hearts desire (or at least until 10:30 p.m. when the park officially closes for the day).

The pickleball project (as I fondly refer to it) is a refreshing example of city staff hearing loud and clear about a recreational need in the community and promptly meeting that need. The adventure has been filled with listening, researching, meetings, learning, budgeting, driving to pickleball courts all over the valley and yes, some challenges.

Finding an ideal location with adequate parking, access to restrooms and water to serve pickleball players, while being conscience of not displacing other park users was an initial challenge. After significant research the decision to convert the two neighborhood park tennis courts at Cholla Park to eight pickleball courts was made.

Funding posed another challenge. Fortunately, we were able to appropriately re-allocate monies budgeted for other multi-sport court resurfacing to convert the existing tennis courts to pickleball. This took analysis and tough decision making. However, we “pickled on” knowing it would be worth it!

For me, the best part of being involved with this project has been meeting and learning from the pickleball community. Meeting with pickleball players and stakeholders from La Camarilla, DC Ranch, Fountain Hills and Scottsdale Ranch Community Association provided insight and inspiration.

Most notably, I enjoyed an educational pickleball site tour led by Jack Thomas, USA Pickleball Association’s vice president and ambassador chair – a.k.a. Mr. Pickleball.

Creating municipal pickleball courts in Scottsdale has necessitated flexibility and adaptiveness. It has encouraged creativity, collaboration and most importantly it developed more communication between City staff and the public who we serve.

The adventure is just beginning with much more to come with this exciting sport. I personally invite you to come to Cholla Park to see the new drop-in courts that are open to the public on a first come first serve basis and to see how fun and energizing a game of pickleball can be!

Editor’s note: Kira Peters is the City of Scottsdale Parks and Recreation Manager.

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