During the June 3rd public meeting of the Mercer Island Parks Commission, Ryan Daly announced that drop-in pickleball will return to the Mercer Island Community and Events Center Indoor Gym in mid-July. There is no official start date or official schedule yet.
The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association reached a bittersweet but important milestone this week. 4 years ago, SMPA was formed by a group of passionate pickleball players with a vision of growing the sport and enabling more people to discover, learn and fall in love with this great game. Since that first meeting over coffee and donuts, the organization navigated its early formative years led by the steady hand and calming presence of its first president, Jerry Kindinger. For those of you who have met Jerry on the courts, you know all about his easy smile and friendly demeanor to go along with his mean dink game. What you may not know is he has also been a fierce advocate for pickleball with government officials and community center directors these past 4 years and has led the way for SMPA to seek more opportunities for all of us to play. He has presided over SMPA from the original 8 founding members to its current total of more than 300 members. But all good things must come to an end, and this week Jerry served his last day on the Board of Directors and President of SMPA.
This is an important time for SMPA. Our Vice President, Theresa Haynie and Director Miguel de Campos are the last two founding members still on the Board. They are both serving final terms before they too ride off into the pickleball sunset. So the questions we need to ask ourselves as an organization are What Now? What Next?
The founding members have done a great job of forming the Association, establishing its policies and rhythms that make this thing go. From being officially designated a 501 c3, working with SPR to add more and more pickleball lines to tennis courts, to establishing the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic as the premier outdoor tournament in the Pacific Northwest, SMPA has accomplished a lot under the leadership of its first president. It’s now up to the next generation of Directors to keep it going, keep the momentum, and to take it even further, to build on what’s been done by Jerry and the other founding Directors.
I believe the time is right, we have the structure in place, we have the right folks on the Board, and we have a powerful community of passionate pickleball players ready and willing to take some big swings, to reach our goals of building a permanent pickleball facility somewhere in the metro area, and to continue to grow our influence and promote the sport in our communities.
The challenge for us is to make those big swings count. To seek the right opportunities, to work with the right people, to find the right time to mobilize our forces. That’s the job the current Board is willing, and excited, to take on. But to have the kind of success we seek it will take all of us. We all need to continue to raise our voices for new courts, more access to existing courts, more opportunities to play. We all need to be active participants, in both big and small ways, in growing the sport. Together we can make a difference.
Though following in Jerry’s footprints is daunting, I’m honored to succeed him as SMPA president and push SMPA forward. As is the case with all our Directors I promise to be bold, be the squeaky wheel you need me to be, and to swing for the fences to reach our goals.
If you’re not yet an SMPA member, join and add your voice to hundreds of others in support of growing pickleball in the Seattle metro area. If you are a member, thank you, and let me know how SMPA can help in your community or how you can help SMPA!
See you on the courts!
President, Seattle Metro Pickleball Association
Covid may have halted online meetings, but not the fulfilling of director duties spelled out in the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) Bylaws. The Board selection committee recommended three new directors to replace termed-out director and SMPA President Jerry Kindinger, and directors who’ve stepped down for family and professional reasons, Tom Grubb and Sean Oldridge. In the online election that followed, these new Directors received the overwhelming majority of member votes and have now joined the SMPA Board:
- Jessica Prince (Mercer Island), subsequently elected Secretary of the Board
- Fran Myer (Kenmore), Pickleball Hall of Fame and local legend
- Sarah Webb (Seattle), retired pathologist and organizer of Miller CC pickleball
At the next Board meeting, held Monday, May 10, the Board said goodbye to the departing directors and elected these officers to guide the organization until Spring of 2022:
- Frank Chiappone, President
- Theresa Haynie, Vice President
- Jessica Webb, Secretary
- Drew Thoresen, Treasurer
If you have tried playing pickleball outdoor during the late afternoon in Seattle or Shoreline lately, you probably noticed that local high schools tennis teams are practicing on a lot of the public courts.
Where are they practicing and where can you play?
In Seattle, the following tennis courts have pickleball court lines and ARE NOT reserved by high school tennis teams:
- Delridge (West Seattle)
- Discovery Park (Magnolia)
- Observatory (Queen Anne)
To be confirmed: Soundview (Crown Hill)
- Walt Hundley (West Seattle)
Tennis teams ARE practicing at the following tennis courts that are lined for pickleball during weekdays until June 11th:
- Bitter Lake – 3:30-6:30pm
- Green Lake East – 3:00-5:00pm
- Miller – 3:00-5:00pm
- Soundview – 4:00-5:45pm
For completeness sake, here are the other Seattle tennis courts that are also used by high school teams. None of those have pickleball lines:
- Bryant 3:00-5:30pm
- Froula 3:00-5:30pm
- Jefferson 3:00-6:30pm
- Laurelhurst 3:30-5:45pm
- Volunteer 3:00-5:00pm
- Solstice 4:00-6:00pm
- Rainier Beach 5:00-7:30pm
- Rainier 4:00-6:00pm
- Meadowbrook 4:00-7:00pm
- Lower Woodland 3:00-6:45pm
In Shoreline, all the Shoreview Park and Shoreline Park tennis courts are reserved for high school tennis teams from 3:00 to 5:00pm on weekdays until June 18th. You can double check court reservation status on the city’s web site.
The Twin Ponds tennis court has recently been resurfaced, has lines for two pickleball courts and should be available on a a first-come first-served basis.
Courts are available Monday thru Friday, from 7:00 am to noon. No pre-reservations/appointments required an there is no time limit on the amount of time you can play each day.
If you are not a member, you will be required to pay the daily drop in fee.
Masks are required to be worn at all times while inside the facility, including while playing.
The Seattle Parks Department’s Rec ’n the Streets program is sponsoring pickleball at the Georgetown tennis courts on Sundays beginning May 2nd and running through the last Sunday in June from 10:30AM to 12:30PM.
The goal of this effort is to introduce pickleball to residents in the Georgetown area. SMPA member Andy McCone and SMPA director Jeff Jolly have volunteered to teach beginning pickleball to all comers.
MAY 3 UPDATE: Here is a copy of the official flyer for this event
The city of Shoreline has resurfaced the Twin Ponds tennis court and added lines for two pickleball courts.
Here they are in all their glory.
The courts are located on 1st Avenue NE, just north of NE 149th Street. Turn into the parking lot across the street from the Aegis Living facility. Walk behind the community garden to find it.
END OF APRIL UPDATE: The Seattle Parks Department only organized pickleball on the Jefferson tennis courts (as announced in the flyer above) twice. Then they quit doing it and forgot to tell the pickleball players about it. So players are still showing up and organizing games on their own.
The Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) Department is organizing Senior pickleball on the Jefferson Park outdoor tennis courts, next to the Jefferson Community Center on Beacon Hill.
In spite of the picture above that shows people playing on a pickleball court with pickleball lines and a pickleball net, there are no pickleball nets or pickleball lines on the Jefferson Park tennis courts.
On Friday April 9, SPR had brought two rolls of blue masking tape, hoping that pickleball players would know how to use them to mark court lines. They also brought a net that was smaller than standard.
Some players marked one court with chalk and used the tennis net as you can see on the picture above. Other players spent a long time laying down masking tape to line a second court and used their own portable pickleball nets.
There are rumors that SPR is considering buying “bright yellow line markers” for next time. They might also have real pickleball nets. In any case, if you have chalk or a portable pickleball net, bring them.
Be aware that there will be no play on April 16.
The Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) department is changing its tennis and pickleball court reservation policy. SMPA is trying to understand what impact (if any) this will have on pickleball. Please contact SPR’s Matt Look and/or the SMPA if you have concerns or questions.
SMPA has in the past rented the East Green Lake courts for weekend outdoor play, with the cost typically covered by player donations. We do not expect this new policy to affect such rentals.
Here is the email announcing the changes.
From: “Look, Matthew”
Subject: Amy Yee Tennis Center Group/Lesson Policy Update 2021
Date: February 2, 2021 at 3:51:15 PM PST
Dear Coaches and Coordinators,
2020 presented many challenges with tennis court usage and accessibility. Tennis is considered a low risk activity, and outdoor tennis, even more so, thus the demand for outdoor courts was at an all-time high. The calls for more transparency and fairness with our booking policies was heard by our department. Coupled with our efforts to get online booking up and running, we are making some changes to our outdoor court rental policies for 2021. We are contacting you as a frequent user of our outdoor courts.
The general public will be able to rent courts no more than 14 days in advance with a maximum reservation time of 3 hours. If your reservations generally fall into these parameters, then you may continue to call or email us for your booking like normal. If you need to book courts more than 14 days ahead of time and/or longer than 3 hours, we ask that you agree to the following:
- Booking requests for must be communicated to an AYTC administrator (currently Matt Look, or Ian Clare)
- Payment will be due 30 days before the first day of your booking
- Unpaid permits will be canceled 14 days before the first day of your booking
- All adjustments/cancelations must be made a minimum of 14 days ahead of time
- No refunds or date changes within 14-day period
- Weather related cancelations can be reported up to 48 hours after the booking date
If you are booking within 14 days, reservations will be subject to the 3-hour maximum, cancelations need to be made 24 hours in advance for a refund.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about these new procedures. If you have your requests for summer ready, we can start to look at them now. Seattle Public Schools have priority on our courts, and their season has been delayed due to the pandemic, and will stretch into June, which may affect court availability for your reservation requests.
Senior Recreation Specialist, Amy Yee Tennis Center
City of Seattle, Seattle Parks and Recreation
2000 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Seattle, WA 98144
For more information about Seattle court reservations, visit SPR’s Tennis Court Reservations web page.
The Seattle Parks Departments’ Lifelong Recreation (LLR) Division provides recreational activities for citizens over 50 years old.
The Lifelong Recreation Advisory Council (LLRAC) advises the LLR about programs, policies, and financial issues.
In mid-November, LLRAC sent the following letter to the mayor, the heads of the Park District Board and the Parks’ Recreation Department, and the Parks Superintendent.
From: Joyce Moty
Subject: Seattle needs more pickleball courts
Date: November 12, 2020 at 9:33:32 AM PST
To: Lorena Gonzalez
Cc: Jenny Durkan, Jesús Aguirre, Justin Cutler
RE: Seattle Needs More Pickleball Courts
Dear Councilmember Gonzalez:
The Lifelong Recreation Programs Advisory Council, advocate for recreational programs for people 50+ to 101, asks that you revise the 2021 budget to include allocations of monies for Restoration of Sports Courts, for the years 2021-2026, in the Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) budget, in order to address the needs for recreation opportunities that maintain a healthy and engaged citizenry.
The pandemic has affected the recreational activities of Seattle residents, especially seniors, who may feel isolated. Outdoor activities such as pickleball could make a big difference in the lives of seniors. Park staff and volunteers worked with Dr. Sarah Webb to draft Rules for Safe Return of Pickleball Play.
At a minimum, lines for outdoor pickleball courts could be painted on tennis courts, as specified in Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Pickleball Pilot Project Report. The costs of painting pickleball Iines is modest, several hundred dollars per court. This short term solution could be achieved for limited capital outlay and provide additional venues to relieve the overcrowding that presently exists for dozens of Seattle residents.
Pickleball is immensely popular in Seattle, and the demand for playing courts is high, as demonstrated in the SPR survey for the 12-year Strategic Plan. Seniors have shown their passion and support for pickle ball by writing letters and testifying at Parks board meetings.
Please allocate funds for the Restoration of Sports Courts for 2021 to 2026 in the Seattle Parks and Recreation budget, which specifically includes capital expenses for lining more tennis courts with pickleball Iines.
Lifelong Recreation Programs Advisory Council
Joyce Moty, President
Beryl Schulman, Vice-president
David Ward, Treasurer
Debbie Zemke and Dan Christopher, Secretary