Published : Monday, September 24, 2018 | 4:49 AM
Good news for pickleball lovers across Pasadena and surrounding areas: the Pasadena City Council’s Finance Committee will deliberate Monday on a funding recommendation to start the construction of 12 new pickleball courts in the undeveloped portion of Vina Vieja Neighborhood Park along Orange Grove Blvd.
If the recommendation is approved and the plans executed as projected, the new courts could be available for public use by 2020.
After Monday’s Finance Committee vote, the item will move straight to the City Council later in the evening and could be approved altogether.
Department of Public Works Director Ara Maloyan said a pickleball working group organized in January had earlier presented three possible locations for the courts to the Recreation and Parks Commission in April. Out of the three, the Vina Vieja Park – in particular its undeveloped portion south of the existing park – was recommended by the Commission.
In June, the design concept for the Vina Vieja location was discussed at a neighborhood meeting and was well-received by about 60 community members who were present.
A month later, the Recreation and Parks Commission unanimously approved the recommendation.
According to Director Maloyan, the recommendation is to use funds from Residential Impact Fees, which the Pasadena Municipal Code allows for capital projects at locations that have been identified as parks.
“The proposed project location is unimproved land and would be considered new park
Development,” Maloyan said in an agenda report for the City Council through the Finance Committee. “The estimated cost of planning, design, project-level environmental review, and entitlements is $400,000.”
For actual design and construction costs, Public Works estimates a total project cost of $1,800,000. Staff is recommending an amendment to the fiscal 2019 Capital Improvement Program budget by appropriating the $400,000 in residential impact fees to the pickleball courts project.
Interest in pickleball, a relatively new racquet sport that a group of Bainbridge Island, Washington parents started in 1965, started picking up around the middle of 2016 in Pasadena, with the City adding more hours to the sport and reprogramming tennis courts at Allendale Park, at 1130 Marengo Avenue, for use as multi-function courts for pickleball players.
The City even started sponsoring clinics and demos to get more Pasadena residents interested in the game.
As the City’s Department of Human Services and Recreation held more frequent meetings about supporting the sport and receiving inputs, the idea of a working group for pickleball took shape to respond to the growing interest on a longer term basis and to come up with workable plans for permanent pickleball courts.