HomeCity NewsCity Zooms in on Potential Pickleball Site

City Zooms in on Potential Pickleball Site

First published in the Jan. 20 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

Since it made its way into the city in 2018, pickleball has been a hit with the La Cañada Flintridge community.
Dozens have flocked to City Council and commission meetings to voice their support for the paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis and asking city officials to create courts dedicated to pickleball. Currently, players are using the tennis court at Glenhaven Park and Foothill Intermediate School’s basketball court.
The pickleball players’ wish may be granted soon as the LCF Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted in favor of recommending Mayor’s Discovery Park as the permanent location for pickleball courts during an in-person meeting on Jan. 12. Chair Philippe Oertle was not present for the meeting. City staff will then present the recommendation to the City Council, which has final say on the matter.
“I think it’s a great game, especially as we transition to a new project where we’re going to be talking about an age-friendly community,” said Commissioner Kim Bowman Jr. “And that doesn’t mean older adult-friendly — it does, but it means age friendly; it means everybody, and I do think this is one of those games that has that potential.”
LCF staff was advised by the City Council in November to continue the pickleball program at Glenhaven Park while searching for a more permanent site after the city was granted $190,593 from the state to develop or acquire a recreational facility.
Arabo Parseghian, the city’s division manager, considered various sites throughout the city — including the local schools, Memorial Park and Olberz Park — and concluded that Mayor’s Discovery Park is the best option because it is one of the few recreational facilities owned by the city, not near any residential properties and has ample parking.
Parseghian said the park was underutilized and that it can have as many as three pickleball courts.
The first plan proposed would have two courts centered between the picnic tables and tree line on the west side of the park, which is estimated to cost $200,000.
Plan B would place the courts on the southeast portion of the park, farther away from the tree line on the west, but would require relocation of picnic tables and the removal of two trellises. The estimated cost of this proposal is $210,000.
The final and most expensive plan proposes three courts on the south side of the park at the expense of removing or relocating four trees, moving picnic tables on both sides of the park and rebuilding a retaining wall to accommodate more square footage. City staff estimates the cost to be $395,000 but believes “the community benefit gained from the additional square footage and the third court outweighs the cost.”
All three plans would also require the removal of the decorative fountain that was installed in 2005 and includes ceramic tiles created by Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge students. Staff was in favor of removing the fountain — which was decommissioned five years ago due to the state imposing stricter water use regulations in response to the drought — because of the maintenance issues and liability risks that came with it. The City Council had previously decided to convert the fountain to a planter area.
The commissioners agreed that the option that results in building the greatest number of courts is best for the community, but advised city staff to work efficiently and quickly on a project with the rising cost of materials and labor and have it fit with the city’s aesthetic.
“My concern always is to be as efficient as possible in what we do, and I would be in favor of three courts but also to keep it looking aesthetically nice,” said Vice Chair Marija Kristich Decker. “I know there’s a way you can lower the cost of these projects, but I don’t like chain-link fences, cheap materials. Want to keep as many trees as possible or [relocate the trees]. I think that’s extremely important.”


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