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Fast: Pickleball needs some courts, but not 100


By way of introduction, I am a member of the pickleball club, a former Strategic Alternatives Committee co-chair and a member of the 2023 Recreation Centers of Sun City board of directors. I am excited to see Mountain View revitalized into a center we can all be proud of and want to show our friends. I sincerely appreciate committee members who worked tirelessly through the summer on this project.

I like to play pickleball as one of the many fun and no-additional-charge activities offered by the Recreational Centers of Sun City Inc. I generally only play pickleball with friends but appreciate the many playing opportunities offered by the Pickleball Club. Several of my friends participate in those programs. As a recreational pickleball player, I want to make clear that Dan Haberman (hereafter Dan), president of the Pickleball Club and Karen McAdam (hereafter Karen), vice president of the 2023 RCSC board, do not represent my views. In my view, Karen and Dan are expert level players. I play for fun, friendship and exercise and believe RCSC pickleball facilities rank among the best of any 55-plus community. I believe most of the recreational pickleball players have a similar view.

I find the statistics being used by Karen and Dan to justify adding 45 additional courts misleading. Dan recently said in the Independent we could use 75 to 100 more courts but are willing to settle for 45. As far as I know the source of all three of these numbers is Karen who applied a ratio of rooftops to pickleball courts from other communities to determine Sun City was woefully short on pickleball courts. Karen told me the 75 to 100 more courts was based on her conversation with another longtime pickleball player. My goodness, the self-proclaimed pickleball capital of the world in Naples, Florida, has only 80 courts where they host national tournaments and none of those are indoors. Do we need to add more courts than they have?

So, what are my views? We need more outdoor recreational-level pickleball courts and a plan to add even more if the ones added get unacceptably crowded. We do not need and cannot afford a professional-level sports complex where we can attract national or international tournaments for nonmembers. The year-to-date 2023 RCSC utilization statistics show that our existing courts are between 40% and 60% utilized. The low end of the range is calculated using an assumption that the average play time is two hours per visit and the high end of the range is calculated using an average play time per visit of three hours. How many folks in their 70s play three hours of pickleball a day? The heaviest use of the courts occurs in the morning during peak season (the winter months).

I urge the SAC to unanimously approve the conceptual plan proposed by the architect that increases the number of recreational pickleball courts in Sun City by 30%. Let’s get the Mountain View renovation moving!