My Point column: Tennis courts lined for pickleball?

Every now and then there are items in life that you could probably just not think about and your mind would be less cluttered with what maybe the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” was about. 

But dang it, for some reason many people’s minds just haven’t been trained that way and, thus, the jist of this column.

Would it bother you if Prescott High School painted pickleball lines on the six tennis courts on Ruth Street and used it for such? I’ve heard rumors that might be in the works and I personally “hate” the thought of it. Why you might ask - basketball courts are used for volleyball and badminton. Football fields can also be used for soccer and track events, even baseball fields occasionally do double duty. 

Here’s the problem: if you open this can of worms, then what was used specifically for the game of tennis for physical education, the tennis teams and community play on a year-round basis will soon be a part-time tennis facility due to the pickleball players wanting to play at the same prime times.

Football has its season, as does basketball, volleyball, track and all the other sports previously mentioned.  A person who isn’t really involved in tennis or pickleball might say, so what’s the big deal, share the prime times. My reply would be “No.” 

The courts were built for tennis and are in use on a full-time basis for such at the high school. 

A couple weeks ago the game of pickleball was being taught on the high school courts and evidently lined with tape. Now the tape is gone, but the residue of glue from the tape remains. This is a common side-effect from doing such and can ruin the expensive painted surface and really makes the tennis courts look crummy.

Find another spot on the school grounds to do pickleball if it’s that important.  I might suggest the outdoor basketball courts at Prescott High that don’t get much use - or the defunct tennis facility at Granite Mountain that needs a major overhaul.  But to just try to slide in painted lines and make-shift equipment to put on the six courts that are a very expensive tennis facility, to me, is certainly not the solution, and I hope if it is suggested everyone lets their feelings be known to the superintendent and school board of the Prescott Unified School District.

I am happy to say that the new pickleball complex at Pioneer Park has been approved and they are nearing completion in their fundraising efforts and hope to break ground in the near future.

Personally, I like the game of pickleball and the people who play it. Many are also tennis or former tennis players, but not at the expense of our tennis facilities, no matter if it’s a public facility or in a subdivision, unless that facility is not being used any more and then it still needs discussion.

On another note, the Parks and Recreation Department has some facilities the general public pays to use and others they don’t.  I’m not sure what reasoning is used to determine why it costs money to walk a trail, or go to a lake, but the public tennis courts, new pickleball complex, skatepark, and other areas are free.  I’m assuming all cost taxpayers extra money to build, maintain and replace as necessary.  How is one that costs you to use determined, over another that is deemed free?

Unfortunately in the 30-plus years I’ve been in Prescott I’ve seen recreational facilities go from beautiful to run-down and in question to closing them (with a bad economy) to trying to find a way to keep them in excellent condition, safe and while providing the community a sense of being proud of what they have, especially now without recreational impact fees in place to help.

Maybe it makes sense to have at least an honor system that is checked periodically with a drop-box system for rec areas.  Keep the areas free for kids 18 and younger, but try to off-set recreation costs with small user fees.  We’re OK when the economy is good, but in crisis-management when it’s not, leaves our facilities in possible dire straits.

Would this bother you? 

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry.  He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.