In 2021, Seattle city councilmember Tammy Morales added $50,000 to Seattle Parks and Recreation’s budget “to support adding pickleball court lines to existing tennis courts in the City. This funding could support the lining of 25 new pickleball courts.” Funding was to be targeted to low-income communities.
Seattle Parks spent about 40% of that money to paint lines for eight pickleball courts in a single low-income community, and to paint lines for eight more pickleball courts spread amongst two higher income communities. It spent about 60% of the money on twelve semi-permanent pickleball nets which have not been delivered yet.
The city council’s request that the money be spent on pickleball court lines in low-income communities was clear but not binding. For it to be binding, it would need to have included a proviso specifying so.
Council Budget Action SPR-003-C-001
At the end of 2021, Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales sponsored a city budget amendment titled “Add $50,000 GF to SPR [Seattle Parks and Recreation] to support adding pickleball court lines to existing tennis courts” in Seattle. Pickleball players sent emails in support of this amendment. The amendment passed and became 2022 Seattle City Council Budget Action SPR-003-C-001 titled “Add $50,000 REET I to SPR to support adding pickleball court lines to existing tennis courts.” It says:
This Council Budget Action would add $50,000 REET I to Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) to support adding pickleball court lines to existing tennis courts in the City. This funding could support the lining of 25 new pickleball courts. Funding would be targeted to low-income communities where there is a deficiency in pickleball courts.
How we hoped the money would be spent
We had hoped that the money would be spent to paint pickleball court lines on existing tennis courts in low-income communities.
The $50,000 allocated for this would have been sufficient to paint lines for up to 40 pickleball courts.
Once lines are painted at a location, we can ask for additional budget for semi-permanent nets or raise money from the community to place nets at that location. That is how most of the semi-permanent pickleball nets in Seattle have been acquired to date. The same can’t be said for pickleball lines: we can’t raise money for pickleball lines.
How the money was spent
|Pickleball||Lines||In Low-income Community||Amount|
|Alki Playground Tennis Courts:|
Lines for 4 pickleball courts
|Gilman Playfield Tennis Courts:|
Lines for 4 pickleball courts
|Rainier Beach Playfield Tennis Courts:|
Lines for 8 pickleball courts
|12 semi-permanent pickleball nets to be installed at locations yet to be determined||✔||✘||?||$30,415.77|
The pickleball court lines were painted in summer 2022.
The pickleball nets were ordered during the first quarter of 2023 and have yet to be delivered.
The costs above do not include Seattle Parks administrative and staff charges.
Even though the amendment stated that the money was to be used to add pickleball court lines for 25 pickleball courts in low-income communities, it spent only about one fifth of the money on pickleball court lines in low-income communities.
Even though the amendment didn’t say anything about pickleball nets over half of the money was spent on pickleball nets instead of pickleball lines.
If we want the city council to earmark money so that it can only be spent on a specific item, a Budget Proviso must be must be passed with any future Budget Action.
Thank Councilmember Morales
Please thank Councilmember Morales and her staff member, Imani Carey, for their leadership in creating more pickleball opportunities for our communities, and for helping clarify what happened to the $50,000. E-mails of appreciation can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org and to her staff: email@example.com.