The Coast News Group
On Tuesday, Pickleballers, such as Pat Carroll, pictured, have advocated for pickleball courts in Carlsbad for years. Courtesy photo
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Pickleballers relish chance for new courts

CARLSBAD — “Picklers” made sure their voice was heard.

Nearly 100 Carlsbad residents and avid pickleballers voiced their support for the $472,000 designated for six courts at Poinsettia Park during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The courts are included in the city’s 15-year Capital Improvement Program report, which detailed other issues such as infrastructure, beaches, parks and, of course, pickleball.

The report will be back to council for approval June 28.

Trudy Stapleton, a 30-year resident, said the Carlsbad Pickleball Support Group worked for the past six years to get courts included in the city’s budget. In addition, she said the collaboration between her group and Parks and Recreation Director Chris Hazeltine was critical in identifying a location and cost.

“This has been a six-year effort … and we are here in solidarity,” Stapleton said. “This is about quality of life and promotes the core values (of the city).”

At least a dozen residents, from seniors to a teenager, spoke to the council about the need for the courts. In short, they said driving to Oceanside or Vista is an inconvenience, especially since those courts are constantly filled.

Mostly, though, the residents said the sport, which many spoke of as being the fastest growing game in the country, encourages friendship, teamwork, camaraderie and other positive aspects.

J.D. Duncan said he picked up the sport in St. George, Utah, where the tiny town on the border with Nevada hosts dozens of tournaments. Others said they travel across the country for tournaments as well.

Carlsbad, they said, could join the list as a Pickleball destination due to its climate, location and amenities.

“We are as optimistic as ever of a pickleball program in Carlsbad,” one resident said. “The demand for play time has dramatically increased. So much so that I am very confident that the city will be searching in short order for other locations.

Marshall Planz, senior engineer for the city, said the pickleball courts would not replace any tennis courts, but instead would sit just east of those at Poinsettia Park.

As for the cost, the $472,000 price tag is on the high end, Hazeltine said. Councilman Mark Packard questioned the cost after St. Michael’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church installed two courts for about $40,000, although the church received $24,000 in donations.

Hazeltine said those courts received donations, including manpower and materials, which the city will not. In addition, the city will commercially grade the courts, install lights, landscaping and a higher grade of fencing, he added. Design fees also add to the cost.

However, Hazeltine said he expects the cost to be around $400,000 and the $472,000 was estimated in case of any problems.

“These courts will be master planned by a landscape architect and certified and fall zones in place,” Hazeltine. “Commercial grade construction includes six to eight inches of steel re-enforced concrete. The improvements we plan to put in place are expected to last at least 30 years. It’s our typical type of construction, which we refer to as the ‘Carlsbad Way.’ When we do a project, we do it the right way.”