Walnut Creek City Council Selects Tice Valley Park for New Pickleball CourtsSep 17, 2023 11:10AM ● By Pam Kessler
After months of passionate pleas by players, noise complaints by local residents, and recommendations by a special task force, on September 5 the Walnut Creek City Council identified Tice Valley Park as the tentative location for eight new outdoor pickleball courts.
At issue are the Dapplegray Lane courts in Rudgear Park—home
to the sizable Walnut Creek Pickleball Club—where the sounds of cheering
crowds and popping balls have reached a crescendo.
“Rudgear Park is 50-feet from our home,” said one neighbor during the marathon council meeting. “Over 180 nearby residents have signed a petition against these courts. This is a residential area, if proper steps had been taken in the first place, these courts would never have been approved.”
Presented with three potential locations for new pickleball courts by the PROS Commission—and Heather Farm Park's Ballfield #1 as the top recommendation—the Council decided Tice Valley was the best fit. In part, because of lower demands for parking and other activities.
Tice Valley Park also got the nod from the pickleball community, who look forward to establishing a dedicated Walnut Creek hub for indoor and outdoor games.
“One advantage of relocating the courts to the baseball field in the rear of the park is that there are no homes immediately adjacent to the site,” said Kevin Safine, Director of Arts & Recreation. “But noise may impact the nearby church and fire station.”
The project carries a potential $525,000+ price tag, partially funded by an agreement with the Walnut Creek Pickleball Club. "Much like other organizations who champion capital improvements, the Walnut Creek Pickleball Club is a stakeholder in this project," said Mayor Cindy Silva.
Hourly or monthly user fees will also come into play. "If the city is going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars, the city needs a return on this investment," commented Safine. Other considerations include staffing, potentially with a partner organization like Lifetime Activities, who manage the courts at Heather Farm Park.
Meanwhile, the Walnut Creek Little League will need to find a new place to play for their young athletes, who currently log around 500 hours annually on the ballfield slated for the new courts.
The story of pickleball in Walnut Creek is far from over. Funding agreements, environmental reviews, and no shortage of community input will fill the agenda in the coming months.