We ask that you reconsider the three requests in our petition and address them one by one
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:
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.
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.
Address the inequalities between the usage of tennis
courts and pickleball courts
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.
Miguel de Campos
Southeast Seattle Pickleball Player Representatives