First published in the July 21 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
Hope for the development of pickleball courts at Mayors’ Discovery Park may have wavered for fans of the sport that has grown in popularity throughout the nation after La Cañada Flintridge staff stated that contractors are passing on the project.
Arabo Parseghian, the city’s division manager, gave the Parks and Recreation Commission an update on the progress, or lack thereof, of developing four pickleball courts at the park at a meeting July 13. He recently put out a request for proposal to design the project and received no submissions.
“We extended it for another two weeks and weren’t getting any submissions,” Parseghian said. “The city engineer [and I] literally contacted consultants left and right, [saying], ‘Please bid on this.’”
City staff then asked various consultants why they wouldn’t accept the proposal, and there was a clear consensus among them that it isn’t worth their time and resources because of the size.
“The No. 1 response is, ‘You guys are just too small,’” Parseghian said. “And the reason being [is] we’re building four courts while Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank are all building 21 courts. So, consultants want to put their money and resources into that.”
The City Council approved Mayors’ Discovery Park as a possible site for pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis, in February at the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Many players and residents living near Glenhaven Park who have dealt with the crowds of people playing throughout the day supported the council’s decision then, but the move irritated other stakeholders, particularly those who live near Mayors’ Discovery Park.
One company did eventually bid on the project, but Parseghian did not go further into detail on that because it will first be presented to the City Council soon. The only information he provided regarding the bid was that “the prices were astronomical,” which doesn’t bode well for a project that has been championed by dozens of local pickleball players.
In other business, the commission shuffled its titles and named Marija Decker chair of the panel and James Kambe as vice chair.
Jack Kozakar was tasked with representing the commission on the Joint Use Committee, a group that includes representatives from the La Cañada Unified School District, City Council and local youth sports leagues. He and other commissioners expressed concern to Parseghian regarding the maintenance of facilities throughout the city, most notably the parks and baseball fields at La Cañada High School.
“The city, whether you realize it or not, is losing control of that field because the various user groups, most importantly baseball, but now there’ a 7-8 group, there is a [9-and-under] group, various groups are collaborating with the coach to take over maintenance and I don’t blame them. The infield looks terrible.”
The panel also commented on the amount of trash left after Music in the Park events held every Sunday at Memorial Park during the summer, including pizza boxes that don’t fit in receptacles and are left on the ground.
A resident expressed a similar concern regarding the maintenance of the plants and grass, and Parseghian assured the commission as well as the stakeholder present for the meeting that he would work with the public works department on helping establish a better maintenance schedule for the parks and fields in LCF.