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Denver Parks officials meet with residents about closure of pickleball courts at Eisenhower Park

Denver Parks & Rec takes public comment on closure of pickleball courts at Eisenhower Park
Denver Parks & Rec takes public comment on closure of pickleball courts at Eisenhower Park 01:55

Denver Parks and Rec representatives met with members of the Eisenhower Park community on Friday to discuss the closure of the outdoor pickleball courts. A few dozen people showed up at the Eisenhower Rec Center to hear what the city has planned.

Eisenhower Rec Center CBS

Denver Parks and Rec says closing the outdoor pickleball courts at Eisenhower Park has been a difficult decision. According to the  DPR for the past several years they have worked with neighbors to allow pickleball play to continue under limited hours, with the exception that the city would address noise ordinance violations.  

According to DPR, after research and investigation into sound mitigation options, it was determined that these solutions do not provide the necessary noise reduction required to be within acceptable limits. The outdoor pickleball courts at Eisenhower Park will close on Nov. 6 and the courts will be converted back to tennis next year. 

Indoor pickleball hours will be increased by 1.5 hours, 4 days a week at the Eisenhower Recreation Center, adding 6 additional hours to the schedule. This will make for a total of 20 hours of weekly open play. This will be in addition to the Pickleball 101 class offered on Wednesdays. 

Signs on the fence of the pickleball courts at Eisenhower Park in Denver. CBS

The city also plans to invest $2 million into next year's budget to build new pickleball courts at the Lowry Sports Complex Park and another one at Rosamond Park. 

"I think unintended consequences is the loss of the community that has been created here at Eisenhower. Many of us live in this community, we are looking for community," said one resident.

"As a department, what we need to do is actually build courts in locations where when the noise is coming off at 75 decibles, it's not going to be violating the noise ordinance at those homes," said Scott Gilmore with Denver Parks & Rec.   

Pickleball CBS

For those interested in further information on sound mitigation considered at the Eisenhower Park location, here are some of the research and investigation findings: 

  • Based on guidance from DDPHE and sound engineering studies, DPR recommends that pickleball court sites be at least 600 feet away from residential properties. The homes to the north of the Eisenhower pickleball courts are roughly 195 feet from the courts, while the homes to the south are 175 feet away. 
  • Fence-mounted sound mitigation, such as baffling or heavy screening, is highly unlikely to be successful at these close proximities. 
  • In this particular location, sound mitigation would be required on all sides of the courts, with only 1% of the surface open to be potentially effective. With the grade difference between the courts and the second story of surrounding homes, those fences would also need to be substantially changed, at a considerable cost. 
  • The baffling and screening options are opaque or nearly opaque, creating an undesirable condition in the middle of the park, where court users can't see out, park visitors and DPR staff can't see in, and heat is trapped (the screening does not have perforations like windscreens do), creating an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe environment. 
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