City to Explore Options for Dedicated Pickleball Courts

(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Pickleball players (L-R) Tetiana Petty, Marty Johnson, Deb Maurer (in background) and Karl Petty (hitting the ball), play the popular game on tennis court #1 at the Orinda Community Center Park. The Orinda Parks and Recreation Commission is exploring the possibility of dedicated pickleball courts.

    Ask any tennis or pickleball player about their sport and you’re likely to receive an impassioned response. Because Orinda has only three public courts and a practice wall for both sports, players often volley for time, space and the ear of city officials.
    In response, the Orinda Parks & Recreation Commission approved an ad hoc committee at their July 12 meeting. Commissioners Steven Danziger and Alex Drexel will explore possibilities for new, dedicated pickleball courts in the city. It’s a step toward compromise between Orinda’s tennis players and people who embrace the popularity of pickleball.
    The committee of two is also tasked with researching locations for a possible off-leash dog park.
    Ana Maria Schnier, who took up pickleball about a year ago, contacted The Orinda News about the efforts of pickleball players to secure better public facilities and playing times. She added the city has painted pickleball lines to existing tennis courts and portable nets are available to users.
    “One problem is it can be difficult to discern the pickleball lines,” she said. “We’re sensitive that people want to keep the tennis courts they’re accustomed to. It would be much easier if either the courts were better lined or if there were more pickleball drop-in hours and dedicated pickleball courts.”
    While tennis in the United States dates to 1847, pickleball was founded 58 years ago on Bainbridge Island, WA. Longtime tennis players may argue pickleball is a passing fancy, but many Orindans think otherwise.
    “The sport is here to stay and has obvious social and health benefits,” said Orinda resident and ardent pickleball player, Colette Kersten, during the July meeting.
    She strongly encouraged building dedicated pickleball courts, saying players frequently travel to Concord, Montclair, Berkeley and other cities to play at desirable times.
    Prior to the commission meeting, Todd Trimble, Director of Orinda Parks and Recreation, said he believes people agree that sharing is fine, but there is enough interest in both sports to consider dedicated spaces.
    Commissioner Arran Schultz said building dedicated pickleball courts could take many years and at great expense.
    In response, resident and pickleball player Roxy Jones recommended short and medium-term alternatives, asking, “Could the ad hoc committee look at alternatives that might cost less and not be fully dedicated?”
    Miramonte High School tennis coach, Andrew Lee, told The Orinda News he and other tennis players believe the city should not convert one of the existing courts to a dedicated pickleball court.
    “Taking away 33% of the tennis courts would be too much,” he said.
    Last spring, Orindans Perry Shustack and Leslie Rose wrote public comments to the city with similar concerns. They stated although high school courts are available for public use, availability is limited to when school is not in session.
    Many factors will determine the next steps. Danziger and Drexel will address the need for short and mid-term alternatives and for locations not exceptionally close to residences, given the sound of pickleball play.
    Trimble’s staff is researching electronic sign-up platforms to streamline reservations for pickleball, tennis, picnic areas and other activity spaces.
    Contact the ad hoc committee by emailing

Cameron Sullivan can be reached at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.