Seattle Parks hosts Big Day of Play as a celebration of Seattle’s diversity and it encourages neighbors, communities and families to have fun, build relationships and be active together. It’s the day to play your way! We see this as the perfect day to advocate for pickleball. Read on.
This year, the Big Day of Play is taking place Saturday August 21 from noon to 4pm. You don’t have to be there all four hours; gather a group of pickleball friends and drop by when convenient.
The event takes place outdoors at Rainier Playfield, across the street from the Rainier Community Center.
Be sure to look at the four tennis courts located on the playfield, across the street from the Community Center. These courts see very little use throughout the year, yet the Seattle Parks Department refuses to paint pickleball court lines on them. The Rainier Community Center has 6 indoor pickleball courts and historically enjoyed a large, active, and diverse community of pickleball players. Wouldn’t it make sense to paint pickleball court lines on the outdoor tennis courts right across the street from the community center?
This is your chance to talk to the Seattle Parks District Oversight Committee and the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners. These two groups have some oversight of the Parks Department. Several of their members will be present at the Big Day of Play. They will be asking attendees the following questions:
– What is the Seattle Parks Department doing well and should keep doing?
(A: Host a large and diverse pickleball community at the Rainier Community Center. Reach new players through their Rec’n The Streets program.)
– What is the Seattle Parks Department doing poorly and should stop doing?
(A: Seattle Parks only allows pickleball on the least desirable tennis courts. This is redlining and it is time to stop that practice. In particular, stop vetoing painting pickleball court lines on the Rainier Playfield tennis courts.)
– What is the Seattle Parks Department not doing yet that it should start doing?
(A: Allocate court use equitably across tennis and pickleball.)
Tell them to start painting pickleball court lines on the Rainier Playfield tennis courts. The Parks department has already painted, is about to paint or has already recommended painting pickleball lines on most outdoor tennis courts adjacent to community centers in other parts of the city. There is no reason to make an exception with Rainier. And no, this is not a highly used tennis court. Their own data shows that these courts are reserved an average of only 45 minutes a day.
Tell them that the Parks department insists on painting pickleball lines only on the least desirable tennis courts. This is discrimination plain and simple, and has to stop.
Tell them to allocate money to fund pickleball recreation programming and pickleball facilities in their next budget. They are about to allocate a boatload of money to the Parks Department for the next six years. In their first budget cycle, they allocated:
– $26,681,070 for Parks and Recreation Operating Expenses, supplementing and expanding the capacity of Seattle Parks and Recreation to serve Seattle residents.
– $142,927,236 for Capital Projects, investing in infrastructure and improvement projects for Seattle Parks and Recreation to preserve and maintain Seattle’s park system.
And all that is just a small part of the Parks Department’s total budget.
In their last budget they allocated over to $2,000,000 to tennis for Amy Yee Tennis Center upgrades and for drainage improvements at the Laurelhurst Playfield outdoor tennis courts. In that same budget, they allocated $0 to pickleball recreation programming and $0 to pickleball facilities.
Tell them that it is not acceptable to fund tennis and leave pickleball unfunded.
- Come to Rainier Playfield on Saturday August 21 anytime between noon and 4pm.
- Find the Seattle Parks District Oversight Committee members and the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners. They will likely sport name tags that will make it easy to identify them. Other pickleball players will help you in your search.
- Tell them to paint pickleball court lines on the Rainier Playfield tennis courts.
- Tell them that the Parks Department practice of painting pickleball lines only on the least desirable tennis courts is discrimination that must end.
- Tell them to allocate money to fund pickleball recreation and facilities in their next budget. And it is no longer acceptable to fund tennis and leave pickleball unfunded.
- Make it personal: Tell them how pickleball has affected your life.
- Grab a group of friends to come with you if you can. If not, don’t worry: you will recognize others from the pickleball community when you get there.
Please tell all your pickleball friends.
See you there!