Pickleball possibilities: Denver identifies 5 sites for new courts
The Denver Department of Parks and Recreation and its Pickleball Advisory Board have identified and are scrutinizing five potential sites for new pickleball courts after plans to install and expand pickleball courts at Congress Park and Sloan's Lake Park were canceled earlier this spring due to noise concerns.
According to notes from an April 12 Pickleball Advisory Board Meeting, the potential new pickleball sites are:
- Burns Park 4001 East Alameda Avenue
- Rosamond Park 8051 E Quincy Ave
- Northfield Athletic Complex 9550 E 56th Ave
- Lowry Sports Complex 8100 E Lowry Blvd
- Martin Luther King Jr. Park 3880 Newport St
According to meeting notes, Denver Parks and Rec only has 12 "playable" outdoor pickleball courts, hardly enough to accommodate the crush of pickleball players in Denver.
The pickleball advisory board is planning a tour of the potential sites on June 3. Scott Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation told CBS News Colorado, "We are still working on possible sites and will be taking a tour with the Advisory Board on June 3 to visit sites. Would not be appropriate for me to undercut the work we are doing with them by talking to you first."
But the sites being considered received a lukewarm response from Deborah Saint-Phard, an avid pickleball player who lives in central Denver.
She said any locations for new city pickleball courts need to be walkable, bikeable and safe.
Saint-Phard said the Burns Park location was a non-starter in her eyes, even though it is relatively close to her home in the Hilltop neighborhood. She called it "polluted, noisy and not appropriate," noting it was surrounded by three busy thoroughfares; Colorado Boulevard, Alameda and Leetsdale.
"This is not good for anyone's lungs," said the sports medicine doctor.
Asked about new courts possibly being installed at the Northfield Athletic complex, Saint-Phard said it's a long drive for players who live in central Denver.
"You can play three really great games in the time you're sitting in your car to try to get out to Northfield," she said. "It's just really far."
She said she and other pickleball players are still upset over the Parks and Rec decision to cancel pickleball at Congress Park based on noise complaints from some neighbors.
"To take the access away from Congress Park isn't right and we need to fight and get it back."
Hollynd Hoskins, a Denver attorney and pickleball advocate, is appealing the Parks and Rec decision on canceling pickleball at Congress Park.
"DPR has come up with arbitrary and unsubstantiated restrictions of where they can put PB courts. Must be 350 to 500 feet from all residents. Cannot conflict with other park activities. Must have ample parking. Must be separated from the tennis courts. Must pass sound-level tests. Must be on the planet Mars," wrote Hoskins.
Gilmore indicated a willingness to work with the pickleball community but noted that for some, "they would rather spend their time fighting to force courts into a neighborhood that clearly has issues with the courts being in that park."
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