Chula Vista

Chula Vista Serves up Its First Pickleball Courts

Participants in fast-growing sport haven't had a permanent place to play.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Civics 101. Sometimes it’s a college course. Sometimes it’s something you learn on the fly.

In Chula Vista, a group of pickleball players wanted a permanent place to play and worked with city officials to build the community’s first eight courts.

“It is so much fun,” Jackie Metcalf said.

Pickleball looks like a miniature version of tennis that is played with a yellow whiffle ball and paddles, as opposed to rackets.

“I could teach you to play in five minutes, enough that you have fun,” Metcalf said.

According to USA Pickleball, the sport is one of the fastest growing in the United States, with more than 3 million active players and 8,500 courts.

Metcalf joined their ranks a few years ago but didn’t have a regular court to play on in Chula Vista.

Metcalf and Pat McElroy worked together to petition the city of Chula Vista, which agreed to paint the lines of a court at a recreation center where the players could put up collapsible nets.

Metcalf, McElroy and a growing legion of pickleballers pressed on to get dedicated permanent courts in a city with more than 50 public tennis courts.

“And we didn’t want to have to wait another so-many years,” said McElroy, who was told by the city that the funding wasn’t available in the budget for this year.

So Metcalf and McElroy raised enough money among players to convert two tennis courts into eight pickleball courts at Mackenzie Creek Park.

“First, we raised $6,000 for eight permanent nets, and then we raised another $11,000 [to resurface and line the courts],” Metcalf said.

“From one step to another, they kept donating more,” McElroy said.

The duo said they worked with the city every step of the process.

“We’re ecstatic,” McElroy said. “We worked really hard, We’ve done it because of the community.”

Civics 101.

“The city’s going to be very happy with the outcome of this,” concluded Metcalf.

Pickleball wasn’t in the budget for this year in the South Bay city, and the pickleballers were too impatient to wait. So, they raised the money themselves.
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