Ryan McDonald

Hermosa Beach Pickleball courts open

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“Godmother of Pickleball” Lois Tuey cuts the ribbon at the Hermosa Beach pickleball courts while Parks and Rec commissioner Jani Lange and others look on. Photo by Ryan McDonald

by Ryan McDonald

After years of waiting, the pickleballers finally squared off on a court of their very own.

Monday morning marked the grand opening of the first designated pickleball courts in Hermosa Beach. Dozens of people assembled at the Clark Field Kelley Courts, where a former tennis court had been restriped and converted into four pickleball courts, to celebrate and play the game.

Pickleball has been around since the 1960s, but has come into its own relatively recently. The sport resembles table and court tennis, and is played with wiffle balls and composite rackets. It is growing rapidly thanks to senior citizens, who want to be active but say tennis leads to too many aches and pains.

Pickleballers tried years ago to get their own court in Hermosa, but were rebuffed due to opposition from tennis players. (The creation of the courts did come at the cost of one tennis court; seven remain.) But lovers of the sport remained determined. They organized and stressed the sport’s appeal to Hermosa’s graying population. They managed to sway the hearts and minds of the Parks and Recreation Commmission and, eventually,  the City Council, which approved the installation of permanent courts in March. With help from a $2,500 Beach Cities Health District grant, restriping of a former tennis court finished last week.

Speaking at the ceremony, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jani Lange commended the “hip City Council” and compared the approval of the courts to the decision, some two decades ago, to back the Hermosa Skate Park at the community center.

“These courts are truly a testament to Hermosa Beach residents’ enthusiasm for outdoors, healthy living,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jani Lange.

Mayor Justin Massey said he first heard about the plight of the pickleballers while walking precincts in his campaign for a seat on the City Council in the fall of 2015. Massey lives just a few blocks north of Clark Field, and was thus prohibited by conflict of interest rules from voting on the resolution approving the permanent courts. But at Monday’s ceremony, he said he was excited to welcome them to the city’s recreation mix, noting that green space and recreation areas represent one of the fundamental services the city provided.

“My wife actually pointed it out to me: I can actually see you from my house. We can hear you playing. And we like the added activity. We like people using the parks,” Massey said. ER

 

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