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Alameda Divided Over Pickleball Court Expansion

On Thursday, April 13, Alameda’s Recreation and Park Commission (RPC) met, with an item of particular interest to the public on their agenda: “Staff Request for Recreation and Park Commission Review of the Krusi Park Tennis Court Resurfacing Project to be Completed Without Adding Pickleball Lines, and Request for Commission Comment on Other Potential Pickleball Venues in Alameda.”

Alameda Post - two pickleball players. One swings at the ball on the court
Pickleball has quickly gained popularity in recent years, leaving players without sufficient court space. Photo public domain.

Alameda Recreation and Park Department (ARPD) Acting Director Dave Leimsieder reported that the resurfacing of the tennis courts is a high priority item for the department. The request for review is based several factors:

  • Noise concerns from the neighboring community.
  • How ARPD parks best serve the neighborhood surrounding each park.
  • Threat of legal action to stop the project altogether if pickleball lines are a component.
  • Estuary Park Phase Two will have pickleball courts added at the end of 2024.

Leimsieder stated that ARPD acknowledges the need for more pickleball courts and that adding courts to a future project location could be a high priority item.



Previous public comment on pickleball lines

Preceding this meeting was a public meeting at Krusi Park on March 23, at which the public voiced comments both for and against adding pickleball lines once the current tennis courts are resurfaced. Concerns raised at that time were reiterated. Both sides offered valid comments, including the following:

Pro: There are only four pickleball courts in all of Alameda, while resident players, of which there already are hundreds, are growing in numbers. Due to demand for courts being much higher than availability, players are leaving the island and spending money in other cities, including Oakland, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. The Tennis Coalition supports the dual use of the courts at Krusi Park. Pickleball is an inclusive sport for any age—Alameda pickleball players range in age from 10 to 90 years old—and any ability. Pickleball has a positive impact on mental health and many speakers at the meeting attested to such in their personal lives. Though there are plans for more pickleball courts in Alameda’s future, there is an urgent need now.

Con: Pickleball noise impacts quality of life to neighboring homes. Popularity of the game means that the noise would be constant from dawn to 10 p.m. on a daily basis. Noise from pickleball is an issue throughout the country, in neighborhoods that surround courts. A resident who currently resides near Krusi Park previously lived 200 feet from Pickleball courts at Lincoln Park and found the noise to be disruptive. Krusi Park courts are much closer to some homes. Noise from the park and Otis Elementary School already exists, and pickleball would add to it. Parking is limited around Krusi Park.

Alameda Post - bright yellow pickleball balls
Balls go through a lot on the courts. Photo public domain.

The pickle: How to serve conflicting needs

It seems RPC is in a quandary as to how best serve both the pickleball community and Krusi Park’s surrounding residents. Commissioners Navarro, Jones, and Robbins were in attendance at the meeting; Commissioner Alexander was absent. A vote on the item was tabled to the next meeting, tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 25, when all commissioners could be present and to allow for a requested meeting between Alameda Pickleball, the Tennis Coalition, and ARPD. Additionally, ARPD will research and present a report on the possible implementation of a two-month trial period of pickleball at Krusi Park.

Contributing writer Denise Lum is a Health and Fitness Coach raising her family in Alameda. Contact her via [email protected] or FitnessByDsign.com. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Denise-Lum.

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