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“Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now: The Saga”

Did you know that (as of Spring 2021) there are no official public outdoor pickleball court lines anywhere in Southeast Seattle. None in Beacon Hill, Brighton, Columbia City, Dunlap, Genesee, Hillman City, Lakeridge, Lakewood, Seward Park, Mount Baker, New Holly, North Beacon Hill (both 2 & 3), Othello, Rainier Beach, Rainier Valley, Rainier View, Rainier Vista, or South Beacon Hill. That is, no outdoor pickleball court lines south of Capitol Hill and East of I-5.

We are not even talking about pickleball courts here. We are just talking about painted lines.

In this pickleball desert, some local residents thirsty for some outdoor pickleball have taken it upon themselves to paint pickleball court lines on the public tennis courts at Dearborn Park and Brighton Playfield. Just to be clear: this is neither approved by the Seattle Parks Department nor endorsed by the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.

It’s not that there is a lack of people wanting to play pickleball in Southeast Seattle. The largest and most diverse community of pickleball players in Seattle has been playing indoors for years at the Rainier Community Center before the pandemic. And the Jefferson Community Center has hosted sizeable pickleball events through the Lifelong Recreation program and through Smash Pickleball for a long time as well.

Now, the Southeast Seattle players have petitioned the Seattle Parks Department to get some public outdoor pickleball court lines. Their story is unfolding. Read all about it by following the links below.

Episode 1: The Petition
Episode 2: Dear Superintendent
Episode 3: Hello!
Episode 4: We are pleased to offer you the least desirable courts
Episode 5: We ask that you reconsider the three requests in our petition and address them one by one
Episode 6: A slap in the face

“Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now: The Saga” – EPISODE 6

A Slap In the Face

JUN 17, 2021 — 

Here is Seattle Parks’ most recent answer to our requests.

Not surprisingly, this most recent reply still does not directly address any of our requests. Instead, it calls them suggestions.  And it proposes that some Park employee without the power to make any significant decision can coordinate with other staff to see if they can work something out. We know better.  

It does not address the fact that Seattle Parks chose the most undesirable tennis courts to make them available to pickleball players. 

It does not answer how Seattle Parks measured “high-demand” areas for pickleball in Southeast Seattle and managed to exclude Jefferson and Rainier from the results.

It suggests that we raise funds to donate more semi-permanent outdoor pickleball nets until Seattle Parks has enough nets for every painted pickleball court.

It mentions that Seattle Parks now has a “citywide pickleball planning committee”, but it fails to mention if this committee contains any representatives of the pickleball community. It certainly does not have any representative from the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association, or any of the Southeast Seattle pickleball players who sent this petition to the Superintendent. We suspect it is made exclusively of Parks employees, some of which work for the Amy Yee tennis center.

Finally, it mentions that Seattle Parks’ staff plan to meet with the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) board members at least quarterly. Is this supposed to be some sort of substitute for the meeting we, Southeast Seattle pickleball players, asked to have with the Superintendent?

As one of the recipients of this email said: “this is what a slap in the face feels like”.

You can read the full email from Seattle Parks below.

From: Dunlap, Laurie <Laurie.Dunlap@seattle.gov> On Behalf Of PKS_Info
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 3:42 PM
Subject: RE: Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now

 

June 15, 2021

 

Miguel and other Southeast pickleball players, hello again. 

 

The court lining and refinishing described in our June 3 email is the extent of what Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) has capacity for at this time.

 

To explore possible options for the future, please contact Tim Pretare (tim.pretare@seattle.gov): Tim can coordinate with other staff to see if SPR can work toward any of your specific suggestions, and he can work with you to explore other options, such as your members raising funds to donate more semi-permanent nets until we have enough nets for every painted court.

 

Please be assured that the pickleball community continues to have SPR’s ear through the citywide pickleball planning committee.  SPR staff plan to meet with the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) board members at least quarterly.

 

Sincerely,

Laurie Dunlap

Superintendent’s Office, Seattle Parks and Recreation

“Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now: The Saga” – EPISODE 4

We are pleased to offer you the least desirable courts

 

 

From: Dunlap, Laurie < Laurie.Dunlap@seattle.gov > On Behalf Of PKS_Info
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2021 2:24 PM
Subject: RE: Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now

 

June 3, 2021

 

Miguel and other Southeast pickleball players, hello. 

 

In May, Senior Planner Oliver Bazinet and the rest of the planning team met to discuss potential locations for new pickleball lines, using the limited surplus funding from the court restoration program, to help meet some of the demand where there have been issues this year.  In making the selection, the team referenced the criteria in the pickleball pilot report , and also factored in the condition of the exiting courts.  They wanted to focus on courts in areas of the city—particularly Southeast Seattle—that see relatively low reservations and seem to have high demand.  

 

Following that evaluation, staff contacted contractors to request quotes.  Having received the contractors’ quotes, we can confirm that we’ll be adding pickleball lines as outlined below. 

 

16 Southeast courts where new pickleball lines will be added

Dearborn Park (was resurfaced in 2018) – 4 new pickleball courts

Beacon Hill Playfield – 4 new pickleball courts

Mt. Baker Park – 4 new pickleball courts

Brighton Playfield (was resurfaced in 2018) – 4 new pickleball courts

Adding lines to the other courts will depend on the contractors’ schedules, but we are optimistic that we can fit in many of them this summer.  Of the 16 new pickleball courts this will add in Southeast (Dearborn, Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, Brighton), 8 will be on recently resurfaced courts (Dearborn and Brighton).

 

12 courts where new pickleball lines will be added as part of planned resurfacing

Gilman Playground  – 4 new pickleball courts

W Magnolia Playfield – 8 new pickleball courts

We can confirm that this work will take place this year because they were already listed to be resurfaced and on the contractors’ schedules.  

 

10 courts where faded pickleball lines will be retouched

Soundview Playfield – 4 existing pickleball courts

Green Lake Park east courts – 6 existing pickleball courts

We can confirm that Green Lake will happen this year, Soundview still has to be scheduled.

 

We’re glad to be able to enhance pickleball resources at courts citywide and particularly in Southeast Seattle.

 

If you have questions about pickleball court planning, please contact Senior Planner Oliver Bazinet at oliver.bazinet@seattle.gov .

 

If you have questions about existing pickleball courts, please contact Matt Look at matthew.look@seattle.gov .

 

If you have other, general park-related questions or concerns, please contact us at PKS_Info@seattle.gov .

 

Thanks for contacting us! 

 

Sincerely,

Laurie Dunlap

Superintendent’s Office , Seattle Parks and Recreation

Next: Episode 5: We ask that you reconsider the three requests in our petition and address them one by one

“Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now: The Saga” – EPISODE 1

The Petition

To: Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent 
Cc: Courtney Brown, Justin Cutler, Matt Look, Tim Pretare

Seattle, May 8, 2021

Dear Mr. Aguirre,

We would like to bring to your attention that Southeast Seattle (South of Capitol Hill, East of I-5) pickleball players are being neglected by Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR).

While the Parks department’s new strategic plan (http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/ParksAndRecreation/PoliciesPlanning/SPR_Strategic_Plan.03.27.2020.pdf) states on page 13 that one of its new strategies is to “Get the most out of our current parks and facilities by converting single-use spaces into multi-functional spaces in order to serve more people within our system, including converting tennis courts into multi-sport courts, adding more paved pathways, and updating parks to meet changing community needs”, the Amy Yee tennis center seems to be focused on preserving the “best” outdoor tennis courts for tennis players.

The pickleball players were told by SPR’s “Rec’n The Streets” that Jefferson Park was available for us to play on Friday, April 09.  A group of 20 players showed up to play.  The advanced players taped a court.  The more recreational players chalked a court.  There was a question by the players if we would be able to play the following Friday.  I called Matt Look to see if it was possible to play.  He told me we were not given permission to use Jefferson Park tennis courts.  He did not want us to tape or chalk lines on the tennis courts because he said it will ruin the courts surface. Matt Look also told me if they let pickleball players use the tennis courts pickleball will take over the tennis courts. This thinking just doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the Parks vision of working with the community.

We are now told by SPR’s “Rec’n The Streets” that Pickleball could be played at Beacon Hill Park on Friday, May 14.  I went there on Thursday, April 29.  I was disappointed to see how old and run down the courts were.  Very little street parking.  Lots of construction and the workers use up what street parking there is. Rainier Park was also mentioned but Matt Look said it would be Beacon Hill Park where Pickleball could be played.  I then went to Rainier Park and could not believe the difference!   It was exactly like Jefferson Park, clean painted tennis courts with ample parking.  Beautiful!

Once again, Pickleball players were given old rundown courts to play on, it is not even worth the money to paint these old courts for pickleball.

Mr. Aguirre, the following are solutions we ask of you:

1. Reserve the outdoor courts at Jefferson Park and Rainier Park for Pickleball players 3 times a week starting immediately. 
Both of these locations have a large number of senior pickleball players who have not been able to play in the adjoining community centers for over a year.
Reserving these courts for pickleball players is similar to what SPR already permitted at Miller and Delridge. SPR can tape or chalk pickleball lines at Jefferson and Rainier while waiting for permanent lines to be painted. 

2. Paint Pickleball courts lines on all the outdoor tennis courts at Jefferson Park and Rainier Park as soon as the weather permits.
Players in the north end have access to outdoor courts at Bitter Lake, Green Lake, Discovery Park and Soundview.   Players living closer to the city center have access to outdoor courts at Miller, Observatory Park and Kinnear Park.  West Seattle players have access at Delridge and Walt Hundley.  Meanwhile, Southeast Seattle Pickleball players do not have access to any local outdoor playable courts.

3. Address the inequalities between the usage of tennis courts and pickleball courts now
The current attitude of “let’s give them access to the run-down courts at Beacon Hill Park; it is better than nothing” is not acceptable especially since Parks has their vision of multi-use tennis courts.

Sincerely,

Jean Crowhorn and Miguel de Campos
Co-Southeast Seattle Pickleball Player Representatives

See the petition on change.org


Next: Episode 2: Dear Superintendent

“Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now: The Saga” – EPISODE 2

Dear Superintendent

 

 

Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 3:02 PM
To: Aguirre, Jesús <
Jesus.Aguirre@seattle.gov >
Cc: Brown, Courtney A <
Courtney.Brown@seattle.gov >; Justin.Cutler@seattle.gov ; Look, Matthew < Matthew.Look@seattle.gov >; tim.pretare@seattle.gov ;
Subject: Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now

 

Dear Superintendent Aguirre,

 

We would like to bring to your attention the fact that Southeast Seattle (South of Capitol Hill, East of I-5) pickleball players are being neglected by Seattle Parks and Recreation…

 

Even though there is a demonstrably large community of pickleball players affiliated with the Jefferson Community Center on Beacon Hill and the Rainier Community Center in Columbia City, there are no official public outdoor pickleball courts in Southeast Seattle.  

 

Over 200 Seattle residents have now signed an online petition asking you to:

  1. Reserve the outdoor courts at Jefferson Park and Rainier Park for Pickleball players 3 times a week starting immediately.
  2. Paint Pickleball courts lines on all the outdoor tennis courts at Jefferson Park and Rainier Park as soon as the weather permits.
  3. Address the inequalities between the usage of tennis courts and pickleball courts now.

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association has endorsed this petition as well.

 

We are attaching the entire text of the petition, as well as the list of signatures and comments. You can find the petition online also at https://www.change.org/SouthEastSeattleNeedsOutdoorPickleballCourtsNow .

 

We ask to meet with you at your earliest convenience so we can learn what Seattle Parks and Recreation is willing to do to rectify the current situation and address any concern you might have regarding our requests.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sincerely,

 

George Carter

Jean Crowhorn

Miguel de Campos

Jetta Kogita

Lawrence Lee

Gordon Sata

Jeannie Yee

Southeast Seattle Pickleball Player Representatives

 


Next: Episode 3: Hello!

Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now: The Saga” – EPISODE 3

Hello!

 

 

 

Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2021 10:55 AM
To: PKS_Info < PKS_Info@seattle.gov >
Subject: FW: Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now

 

Hello Seattle Parks,

 

We sent the email below to the Superintendent two weeks ago.  Would you be able to confirm that the Superintendent received it?  If you could also find out if there is any point for us to wait a few more days for an answer, that would be fantastic.

 

Thank you,

 



Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 3:02 PM
To: Aguirre, Jesús <
Jesus.Aguirre@seattle.gov >
Cc: Brown, Courtney A <
Courtney.Brown@seattle.gov >; Justin.Cutler@seattle.gov ; Look, Matthew < Matthew.Look@seattle.gov >; tim.pretare@seattle.gov ; ljchorn@gmail.com ; ‘Jeannie Yee’ < yeej920@msn.com >; gordsata@gmail.com ; ‘Lawrence Lee’ < bostonlee75@hotmail.com >; Saidhay@aol.com
Subject: Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now

 

Dear Superintendent Aguirre,

 

We would like to bring to your attention the fact that Southeast Seattle (South of Capitol Hill, East of I-5) pickleball players are being neglected by Seattle Parks and Recreation…

 

Read the entire letter to Superintendent Aguirre in Episode 2
Read the entire petition in Episode 1

Next: Episode 4: We are pleased to offer you the least desirable courts

“Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now: The Saga” – EPISODE 5


We ask that you reconsider the three requests in our petition and address them one by one

Sent: Wednesday, June 9, 2021 6:30 PM
To: Aguirre, Jesús
Cc: Bazinet, Oliver; Look, Matthew ; PKS_Info; Brown, Courtney A; Justin Cutler; Tim Pretare; Laurie Dunlap; Jenny Durkan; Tammy Morales
Subject: RE: Southeast Seattle Needs Outdoor Pickleball Courts Now

 

Dear Superintendent Aguirre,

 

Thank you for replying to our petition for more pickleball courts in Southeast Seattle.

 

Our petition requested three specific actions from SPR:

  1. Reserve the outdoor courts at Jefferson Park and Rainier Park for Pickleball players 3 times a week starting immediately.
    Both of these locations have a large number of senior pickleball players who have not been able to play in the adjoining community centers for over a year.
    Reserving these courts for pickleball players is similar to what SPR already permitted at Miller and Delridge. SPR can tape or chalk pickleball lines at Jefferson and Rainier while waiting for permanent lines to be painted.
  2. Paint Pickleball courts lines on all the outdoor tennis courts at Jefferson Park and Rainier Park as soon as the weather permits.
    Players in the north end have access to outdoor courts at Bitter Lake, Green Lake, Discovery Park and Soundview.   Players living closer to the city center have access to outdoor courts at Miller, Observatory Park and Kinnear Park.  West Seattle players have access at Delridge and Walt Hundley.  Meanwhile, Southeast Seattle Pickleball players do not have access to any local outdoor playable courts.
  3. Address the inequalities between the usage of tennis courts and pickleball courts now.
    The current attitude of “let’s give them access to the run-down courts at Beacon Hill Park; it is better than nothing” is not acceptable especially since Parks has their vision of multi-use tennis courts.

 

Your reply does not address any of these 3 requests.

 

Instead, you propose to allow pickleball players access to a few of the least desirable tennis courts in Southeast Seattle which is totally unacceptable.  That these courts are the least desirable is borne out by the fact that they have the fewest reservations. Tennis players look for courts that make them feel safe, that are in good condition, that have access to bathroom and water fountains, that have nearby parking, that are lighted in the evening, etc.  Not every player is looking for the exact same thing, but the least desirable courts unavoidably get the fewest reservations.  We see your decision of selecting the least desirable tennis courts to make them available to pickleball players as offensive.

 

You say that the courts you propose to line for pickleball in Southeast Seattle are located in “high demand” areas.  The only demonstrably high-demand areas are Jefferson Park and Rainier Playfield, next to community centers that have hosted pickleball play for years, and two of the most demographically diverse and concentrated pickleball players areas in the entire city. Lining the Rainier Playfield courts is even part of the city’s Pickleball Pilot Project Report recommendations on page 12. If you think that Brighton Playfield and Dearborn Park are high demand areas because some rogue player painted pickleball lines there, then you are rewarding players who are taking matters in their own hands and ignoring the players who have been patiently trying to work through the proper channels.

 

We are disappointed to see that once again Seattle Parks and Recreation is announcing major decisions affecting pickleball players without having had any pickleball player representation at the actual decision table. In contrast, tennis players were clearly afforded adequate representation.

 

We ask that you reconsider the three requests in our petition and address them one by one.

 

Sincerely,

 

George Carter

Jean Crowhorn

Miguel de Campos

Lawrence Lee

Gordon Sata

Jeannie Yee

Southeast Seattle Pickleball Player Representatives

 

 

Next: Episode 6: A slap in the face

ACTION ALERT: Register Today to Ask for More Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball in Kirkland on June 17, 6:30-8:00PM

This year, the City of Kirkland is updating its Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan which is a six-year guide and strategic plan for managing and enhancing park and recreation services. The PROS Plan establishes a path forward for providing high quality, community-driven parks, trails, open spaces and recreational opportunities to benefit Kirkland community members and visitors. This planning process provides a vision for where the parks can grow, how programs can expand, what improvements facilities need and ways to better serve the community. Let’s make sure the plan includes pickleball.

Kirkland has hired Greenplay to ask for your input regarding this plan. Greenplay will host a Public Forum on June 17th from 6:30 to 8:00pm.

At the public forum, you will have the opportunity to take part in polls, ask questions in the chat room and participate in a question-and-answer period. The input received during this public forum as well as through focus groups, interviews and survey opportunities will be used to determine the priorities for Kirkland’s recreational facilities and activities, what funding sources may be available, potential partnerships, and how best to support the recreational needs of the community. Let’s seize this opportunity to ask for more indoor and outdoor pickleball facilities.

Register today at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pVX3kMQYTgm6Yg28hqXeyg and tell all your pickleball friends who live, work or play in Kirkland to register and attend as well.

See you online on June17th!

Help the Lynwood Parks Department Update Their 10-Year Plan

The City of Lynnwood updates its Parks, Arts, Recreation and Conservation Plan once every six years to ensure that programs, services, and recreation facilities are meeting the needs of community member.

They would like to know what you think. So, if you live, work or play in Lynnwood, take their Community Recreation Needs Survey and ask for more indoor and outdoor pickleball.

The city is already planning to add 6 pickleball courts at the South Lynnwood Park as part of their current renovation project. Please tell them that is a very good idea. And feel free to ask for more indoor and outdoor pickleball play opportunities.