March 2020 Newsletter

SMPA Annual Member Meeting Cancelled

You’ve no doubt heard through the pickleball grapevine or by way of social media that the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) Annual Member Meeting and Play day at Rainier Community Center has been cancelled due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns.

We value the health and safety of all of our pickleball community members, and at this time take the prudent step to not hold an in-person meeting for 2020. There are, however, business items still in need of resolving, and to that end, we will hold an online election for our returning and new slate of SMPA Board Members who are replacing retiring Board members. Please check your email inbox next week for the online Election Ballot.

If you haven’t looked at your membership information lately, you might want to check on your status. As most members are set for autorenew, actually looking at your membership information takes a few minutes of looking at Member Planet to review.

Our Pickleball Community Speaks Up

SMPA members and other pickleball enthusiasts turned out in force on Monday, March 2nd, for the Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) Parks District public meeting on March 2nd. Space was limited to standing room only! Kudos and thanks go out to Jimi Vernie, Sandy Goldade and Jean Crowhorn for a fantastic job of getting the word out to local pickleball players.

A huge thanks goes out to our own Board member, Miguel de Campos, who sounded the alert to all by Facebook and email. Superintendent Jesus Aguirre spoke about the six-year budgeting process that was underway and invited input from the attendees regarding things they wanted considered in the Parks budget.

Everyone was asked to share their thoughts at their respective tables. A Parks District representative sat at each table, noted the ideas and requests from each person and then presented a summary of the recommendations from each table to the entire group.

The predominant request from every one of the seven tables was to provide more pickleball opportunities in the form of increased community center staffing and hours, outdoor courts, and dedicated indoor year round facilities.

Your voice was heard, but it remains to be seen whether the city will act on it. Nonetheless this is a very important time to speak out about our goals because the City is making long term budgeting decisions for at least the next six years.

The Parks District 2020 Planning Timeline for 2021 is as follows:

  • February through May 2020 – Park District Oversight Committee holds planning meetings, briefs and receives input from Council Members
  • March – Park District holds public meetings
  • May – Park District Oversight Committee presents to the Mayors’s Office recommendations for six year spending plan
  • June to July – the Mayor’s Office works on the budget
  • August – the Mayor transmits the Proposed Park District 6 year spending plan to the City Council
  • September through October – Park District review and public hearings
  • November – Park District votes on 6 year spending plan and adopts 2021/2022 Park District budget.

Mr. Aguirre confirmed that the most important time for public input about what should be considered in the Parks budget is now through April 2020. Our SMPA member and pickleball community action? Continue to provide input.

That means we need to ready our pens, pencils, keyboards, and any other means of communicating to the Seattle City Council’s and the Finance and Housing committee. Take a few minutes to let them know that it’s time to put pickleball into the budget as a line item and not leave us begging for Seattle Parks and Rec (SPR) leftovers.

Ask them to treat us as a viable sport, and request that they line more courts, make more indoor time available, and work toward dedicated pickleball facilities.

SMPA President’s March 2020 Message

Greetings all pickleball players of Seattle and beyond,

As you read in the leading topic this month, the SMPA Board cancelled the Annual Membership Meeting set for March 29th due to the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus and concern for the welfare of our members and citizens of the greater Seattle community. One of the key purposes of the Annual Meeting is the election of Board members who are replacing retiring SMPA Board members. Instead, election of board members by the members will be conducted online later this month. Ballots, and the slate of the Board’s recommended candidates will be sent out shortly. The Board is considering a possible Association event for members later this summer in lieu of the play opportunity which was scheduled at the Annual Meeting. Please watch for the ballots and submit your vote according to the instructions provided.

On Tuesday March 3rd, I along with two other members of the Life Long Recreation Advisory Council met with City Council Member Debora Juarez. We urged her to favorably consider a Parks budget that first, increases community center staffing to allow for longer hours, particularly nights and weekends, and second, specifically make seniors social and recreation activities an express priority in the City Strategic and Spending Plan for the next six years.

We also planted a seed and asked that Juarez and other council members favorably consider any public/private proposal the council received and on which they would vote for the purpose of funding a dedicated year round pickleball facility similar to the Amy Yee tennis Center. At a public meeting with SPR Superintendent Jesus Aguirre that afternoon, Ms. Juarez pressed Supt Aguirre to include senior activities in the Parks Department’s Strategic Plan.

We are continuing to explore developing a dedicated pickleball site on SPR property which could include a public/private joint venture. Plans for further discussions with SPR representatives on this subject are in process. We are hearing about growing numbers of pickleballers in the greater Seattle area interested in creating a dedicated pickleball facility. This past week, two members of the SMPA Board and a SMPA volunteer met with a representative of a group from the Eastside to explore possible collaboration about development of potential dedicated pickleball facility sites. We agreed to pursue this common goal on parallel tracks and to mutually share information.

Ball machines were delivered to South Park and Hiawatha community centers. At this point, they are being used for instructional purposes by the skills-and-drills classes. It would be wonderful if use of these machines could be expanded and made available at specific times for practice by others not enrolled in the classes but for the time being, priority is to those who can be trained in operating the ball machines.

The coronavirus has put a damper on pickleball play. Although drop in pickleball at several community centers continues on schedule, some centers have decided to close this activity. Several informal community leaders are in regular contact with community centers in an effort to learn of changes in scheduled play and to keep players posted by email of any cancellations. We are grateful for these efforts. In addition, we encourage everyone to check timeforpickleball.com for changes in pickleball schedules. Miguel is doing his best to post changes when he learns about them. You can also call the community centers directly to see if they are open and offering drop in play.

Kudos to all of you who’ve written and emailed SPR! If you were unable to attend the Parks District meeting you can send any thoughts or comments about the Park district planning process to PDplanning@seattle.gov. You can also participate in the Park District online survey. We encourage you all to continue to express what pickleball services you want included in the 6 year budgeting process.

Until next time, keep those hands washed, and be cautious but play hard and have fun on the courts.

Jerry Kindinger, President

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Closures in Seattle

The City of Seattle announced effective Friday, March 13, 2020 at 6 PM, all SPR recreation facilities and programs, as well as facility rentals and permitted events, will be canceled until at least April 13. Any dates mentioned in this newsletter may be subject to change based on availability of facilities.

Free Family and Youth Pickleball Clinics

Want to get your kids playing pickleball? Come to Shoreview Park, 700 Innis Arden Way in Shoreline on Sunday, April 26, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM.

This clinic is only for families with kids ages 10+. No experience necessary, all equipment is provided. Registration is required as there is only 16 spaces available.

Check the Events web page for more details.

SPR to Resurface and Stripe Courts

SPR announced that they will be adding pickleball lines to the Bitter Lake, East Green Lake and Magnolia tennis courts as part of the scheduled resurfacing of those courts. Unhappy that they aren’t maximizing the layout to fit in as many pickleball courts as possible? We are dismayed that again the City is imposing the will of the tennis community on these shared outdoor courts.

What’s Open and What’s Closed Now

Our intrepid Miguel is constantly updating Time for Pickleball, so you can check there or let us know if you don’t see your favorite facility listed.

For Seattle, for now, this is what we know: all Seattle Pickleball classes are canceled at least through Saturday, April 13. All Community Centers will be closed from Saturday March 14 until at least April 13, 2020.

You can also check the Parks Department’s blog for more information. When you read the information available on the blog, keep in mind that drop-in pickleball is no longer part of Lifelong Recreation. That is why, even though all Lifelong Recreation drop-in programs have been canceled for a few days now, drop-in pickleball had still been available until and including Friday March 13.

Be sure to check and use Playtime Scheduler to set up or see who’s setting up play groups in the Seattle metro area outside of scheduled drop in times.

SPR Spring Indoor Pickleball Tournament

Until we hear otherwise, Seattle Parks and Recreation still has on the schedule its spring Men’s and Women’s Doubles tournament. The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Avenue South, Seattle, 10 AM to 4 PM. They’ll open the gym at 9 AM for practice. Be sure you check for possible cancellation due to COVID-19 concerns.

With skills division for women rated 3.0 and under (UTPR or self-rated) and 3.5 to 4.0, and as well a men’s skill division of 3.0 and under and another 3.5 and 4.0, you’ll see some good play. Be sure to register and pay ($20 per team) by April 10th. Use the activity codes listed here when you register online, or call Adult Sports at 206-684-7092.

Activity codes and ratings, either UTPR or self-rated skills divisions:

  • 35939 Women’s Doubles 3.0 and under
  • 37957 Women’s Doubles 3.5 and 4.0
  • 35938 Men’s Doubles 3.0 and under
  • 37956 Men’s Doubles 3.5 and 4.0 division

Give SPR Feedback

Please join in the discussion for the next 6-year budget with SPR. They have clearly established a very short cycle for setting, reviewing, and ultimately passing the SPR budget.

You can reach the Parks District budget planners using any or all of the following.

  • Public meetings for the budget review have been canceled for now due to COVID-19 precautions.
  • Email the city officials working on the 2021 Parks budget at PDplanning@seattle.gov
  • Look at the planning docs for the SPR budget on their website


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