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Elk Grove Citizens Thinks “Its Excessive” Building Pickleball Courts

Elk Grove Citizens Thinks : As the fastest-growing sport in America, it has attracted players of all ages. One of the key reasons for its popularity is its low-impact nature, making it easy on the joints. Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, pickleball offers a fun, friendly experience for everyone.

The Elk Grove Park District’s proposal to add six pickleball courts to the newly renovated Marshall Park received unanimous approval from village trustees on Tuesday. This decision followed a heated two-hour debate and public commentary session. Neighbors voiced concerns about the noise and increased traffic, while pickleball enthusiasts highlighted the growing demand for more court space. The park district had initially withdrawn the proposal in March to explore alternative locations, but after evaluating eight other sites, Marshall Park was deemed the most suitable due to its ongoing $4 million renovation and central location.

Initial Proposal and Public Outcry

Mayor Craig Johnson and the six trustees had already shown their support for the park district’s proposal to add six pickleball courts to the newly renovated Marshall Park. However, public outcry in March prompted district leaders to withdraw the proposal temporarily in search of an alternative location.

Site Evaluation and Choice

After evaluating eight other potential sites, Marshall Park—a 6-acre space in the town center, already undergoing a $4 million renovation—was identified as the favorite. Nearby homeowners, however, expressed frustration, stating that pickleball was never mentioned in the park plans presented during the 2021 state grant application process. The sudden inclusion of pickleball courts came as a surprise when the district approached the village plan commission for a special use permit in March.

Neighborhood Concerns

Connie Cundiff, a 50-year resident leading the opposition, mentioned that the issue was less about pickleball and more about the manner in which the plan was handled. “It’s a piece of property that has been tranquil,” Cundiff said. “Parks are supposed to be recreation and fun, but they’re also supposed to be other things.”

Victor Anderson, another neighbor, added that the addition of pickleball courts seemed excessive. The recent park upgrades, including a new playground, splash pad, shelter, basketball court, walking path, and lighting for the soccer field, have already increased traffic and parking issues in the area. Anderson lamented the loss of the quiet neighborhood that initially attracted residents.

Elk Grove Trustees Approve Pickleball Court Plan

Support for Pickleball

On the other side, pickleball supporters praised the park district for addressing the growing need for more court space. Currently, the district offers six outdoor courts at Rainbow Falls Waterpark and three indoor courts at the Jack A. Claes Pavilion. Vicky Frankel compared the amended Marshall Park plans to a house remodeling project, emphasizing the positive aspects of change.

“They changed their mind on certain things, and that’s OK, Broaden your horizons, people. Change is good. Pickleball will be going on for years and years and years and years” – ( Vicky Frankel )

Park Board’s Perspective

Park board Commissioner Bill O’Malley called the original 2021 park plan a “blueprint,” highlighting that changes are inevitable. He promised to address any issues that might arise. “There’s so many things that people want to complain about, but give it a chance to work,” O’Malley said.

Final Approval

Mayor Johnson, from a block away from the park, advocated for installing soundproofing barriers on two sides of the court’s fence, enhancing landscaping, and setting a 9 p.m. cutoff for court lighting. These steps are aimed at striking a balance between addressing the concerns of nearby residents and accommodating the desires of pickleball supporters. He mentioned “When people tell me, ‘Mayor, put the pickleball court over there, put the pickleball court over at that park,’ … you know what they’re telling me? They don’t mind pickleball. They just don’t want it in their own backyard, But we can’t govern that way””

News in Brief: Elk Grove Citizens Thinks

The village trustees’ unanimous approval of the pickleball court plan marks a significant step forward for the Elk Grove Park District. While nearby residents expressed concerns about noise and traffic, the decision includes mitigations such as soundproofing barriers and specific court lighting hours to address these issues. Mayor Craig Johnson emphasized the importance of balancing community interests and acknowledged that while not everyone is pleased, the majority of residents support the addition. The formal ordinance approval is set for the next village board meeting on July 16, signaling a new chapter in the park’s development and community engagement.

Also Read: Sussex YMCA Set to Open Dedicated Pickleball Center in Lafayette

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