Redondo Beach, California, Council ponders Pickleball at public parks

by David Mendez

The packed chambers of the Redondo Beach City Council were fiercely split on Tuesday evening, as many residents argued passionately — based on both personal experience and empirical evidence — over a surprisingly important issue: pickleball.Redondo’s Council was discussing the ball-and-paddle sport (which is a child-and-senior-friendly mix of wiffleball, tennis and ping-pong,) as it weighed possibly replacing an existing tennis court at Anderson Park with four pickleball courts. Tempers were high — even children, arguing the merits of tennis over pickleball, were scoffed at.In the end, the Council directed city staff to investigate possible sites for pickleball courts elsewhere in the city — including at an open lot in Aviation Park — while leaving the Anderson tennis courts alone.The idea came before the Council after a resident suggested, at a Recreation and Parks Commission meeting last year, that Redondo join Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Torrance in providing pickleball courts — Torrance and Manhattan offer courts that convert between tennis and pickleball, while Hermosa permanently converted one tennis court into four pickleball courts. Anderson Park, with two tennis courts, was considered as a potential site for a similar conversion. Tuesday’s meeting would have set in motion a public outreach plan for the change.Redondo’s tennis-loving residents didn’t love the idea.

“Residents had voted to preserve the tennis courts” at Aviation Park, which were then converted into a parking lot, said resident Holly Osborne. “I’ll admit they were terrible courts, but when you’re not a very good player, they’re fine…but we voted to keep it as open space, and we didn’t mean a parking lot. Convert that back and make it into a pickleball court.”

Councilwoman Laura Emdee, who represents the Anderson Park area as well as the Aviation area, suggested a vacant city-owned lot at Aviation as a possibility, which staff ran with. The item will go back to Rec and Parks before Council hears it again.

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