Goleta City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to support a proposal by the Goleta Valley Community Center organization to repurpose the center’s tennis courts as permanent pickleball courts.
The community center’s current tennis and basketball courts were built in 1994, but activity on the courts has declined significantly over the past 10 to 15 years, according to JoAnn Plummer, parks and recreation manager, who has presented the article.
“Over the past 10 to 15 years, activity on the tennis court has declined dramatically with use limited to the occasional basketball game and a softball coach using the fenced area of the tennis court for practice. throwing,” Plummer said. “In 2019, the Goleta Valley Community Center was approached by a resident to create a temporary pickleball court on the existing basketball court, which has been well received by the community.”
Pickleball’s popularity grew during the COVID-19 pandemic as the need for outdoor activities increased, and one group launched a pilot program to fund four temporary pickleball courts on existing tennis courts and to maintain the temporary pickleball court on the basketball court.
The group now wants to convert the current tennis courts into permanent pickleball courts.
The proposal first came to Goleta City Council at its January 18 meeting, where council members expressed some concerns, including ensuring access for all, the cost to users and the noise.
City staff returned Tuesday to address those concerns and presented solutions to which the Goleta Valley Community Center had agreed.
To ensure access for all, banners and promotional signs will be created promoting free play opportunities, free monthly workshops for beginners and information on how to get involved or reserve courts. These signs and banners will be in English and Spanish.
During the pilot program, users paid $60 subscriptions to reserve and use the pickleball courts. However, the city council said it believed community members should be able to use the courts without being charged.
To address this issue, more open game times will be available for all skill levels at no cost.
Open play hours will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday and 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
In addition, a reservation system will be available for everyone to reserve courts at other times with an optional donation of $2.
Membership will still be available for players who want more information about pickleball. With membership, players will receive information about lessons, workshops, leagues and tournaments at pickleball courts throughout the tri-county area. Membership fees will remain at $60 per year, but scholarships will be available for those who are interested and need help.
Membership fees will be donated to the community center courts, helping to subsidize costs such as portable toilets, lighting costs, marketing and administrative costs.
The final item that was addressed by city staff was noise issues, as the Goleta Valley Community Center has received noise complaints in the past regarding the sounds of balls bouncing on the court and balls hitting paddles. .
Some solutions include resurfacing the courts, installing thicker windshield material on the south fence, and recommending players use paddles and balls from a posted approved list.
All of this is level 1 in resolving noise issues. If they are unsuccessful after three months, Level 2 involves the installation of used quilted fiberglass absorber panels to further reduce noise.
“I think what we have in front of us now is an effective compromise,” Councilman James Kyriaco said. “The community center board, which I think should be applauded, has really shown me that they listen to the community, they listen to the board, and they implement something here in partnership with the city being accessible, it will be fair and it will be a joyful way for our residents and visitors to spend their time.
The total cost of the upgrades is approximately $39,000. The Goleta Valley Community Center will fund the upgrades at no cost to the town.
“We definitely need more recreation and opportunity in the city, and I think that’s really going a long way,” Councilman Kyle Richards said. “I’ve heard from a lot of people who really appreciate this and what it means to them.”