Michael Lang - September 2022
Before I dive into other updates, I want to promote our Monterey Bay Pickleball Survey. More on this later, but, please take a few minutes to complete the survey so we can get a better understanding of pickleball play in our area. This survey is open to anyone, so, spread the word!
For those of you that don't already know, Mark Thomas has decided to step down as the President of the MBPC Board due to changes in his work schedule. I have agreed to fill his very large shoes as President ... figuratively, not literally :)
Mark will continue to participate on the board as both Past President and a USAPA Ambassador. We currently have one opening on the Board. If you are interested in joining use to help advance play on the peninsula, please contact me at: MichaelALang@comcast.net
One of my primary objectives is to see the development of a new public pickleball facility with at least 6 permanent, dedicated courts. I've visited many other small communities with dedicated pickleball courts including: Santa Cruz, San Jaun Bautista, Cambria, Santa Barbara, and Ashland OR. If they can find a way to build real courts, why can't we?
But first ... some history.
What's Up with Via Paraiso?
As you probably know, our club has not been active for the last two years. We stopped play in 2020 as a result of court closures due to Covid-19. When the courts reopened, we remained inactive because of neighbor complaints surrounding our host venue: Via Paraiso. The neighbor concerns had been brewing for several years and reached a head during the Covid shut down. As a result, the City of Monterey called for mediation between the neighbors and the pickleball community. Those representing the the pickleball community were all residents of the Monte Vista neighborhood where Via Paraiso is located. The club was not directly involved in the mediation proceedings, however, the Board was given an opportunity to provide some feedback.
The outcome of mediation was a recommendation to implement a pilot program reducing the number of courts at Via Paraiso from 4 to 2. The pilot program ran from May through July. Following the completion of the program, the city decided to make the recommendation permanent.
So, there are currently two pickleball courts available for play at Via Paraiso. These are the two pickleball courts nearest the restrooms. Eventually, these pickleball courts will be restriped for pickleball only, and hopefully, permanents pickleball nets will be installed. This effort to convert one tennis court to two dedicated pickleball courts is currently pending Monterey Neighborhood and Community Improvement Program (NCIP) funding.
Obtaining NCIP funding from the City of Monterey requires some lobbying work. If you are a Monterey resident and interesting in helping with this effort, please contact me. For now, we can continue to use the two rolling nets. The other tennis court will remain tennis only.
With only two courts, Via Paraiso can not support significant play. Knowing this was a likely outcome from mediation, we began looking for additional facilities to replace the lost courts. The courts at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) are available for use by the community when they are not being used for school classes or activates. These are shared tennis/pickleball courts. They are not dedicated for pickleball only. However, they offer the advantage of no nearby neighbors, 6 courts with abundant spacing, and ample parking (although there is a nominal fee for parking on weekdays). Unfortunately, MPC does not provide nets for public use.
So, we have installed a blue storage box at MPC and stocked it with 6 nets and some balls. The combination to the storage box is available to all paid club members here. To avoid theft and vandalism of the nets, we are proceeding on the 'Honor System' and ask that members keep the combination to themselves. Instructions for assembling and disassembling the nets are detailed on a card in the storage box.
As a reminder, club membership is available to anyone. The cost is $20 annually which helps pay for the nets, the web site, new facility development, etc. Feel free to play at MPC and send us your feedback!
Future of the Club
Over the last two years, pickleball has continued to grow rapidly throughout our area without any club organized play. So, the MBPC Board has been struggling with the future direction of the Club. One thing remains clear, we need more facilities. So, the pursuit of a dedicated public pickleball facility remains one of our key objectives.
Aside from that and supplying nets for individual play at MPC, it's not clear if Club organized play is something MBPC members would like to resume -- and, if so, what form should that take. So, we have prepared a survey:
The survey focuses on your current pickleball play routine and what you would like to see going forward. If you have frustrations about long wait times or trouble arranging matches with people you want to play with, we want to know.
Even if you are not a club member and not interested in playing with the club, we still value your input. Please also encourage all players you know to fill out the survey. Simply knowing how many players are out there and how often they play helps us lobby local municipalities for additional courts. Understanding the desires and frustrations surrounding the current pickleball environment will also help provide direction to the club.
See you on the courts!!