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It has now been more than 5 months since we last gathered to play pickleball at Via Paraiso (VP). On March 17, the Monterey Bay Pickleball Club (MBPC) made the decision to suspend organized play due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Even though VP is now open for singles play, our club remains on hiatus until the outbreak is under control. The Board of Directors has continued to meet periodically throughout the pandemic and we have received some questions from members on various topics. So, this Blog post is an update on what has been happening with the club, where we’ve been, and where we are going.


Pickleball Status on the Monterey Peninsula

While MBPC play will remain on hold until the pandemic is over, you are free to play on your own where permitted. The information below is provided in case you want to try to organize your own games. The club will remain in communication with the City of Monterey about their plans for reopening VP to our group, and we will continue to look for other venues and resume open play again as soon as the venue(s) dictate that it is safe to do so.


Via Paraiso, is currently limited to singles play only. Morris Dill courts in Pacific Grove is also limited to singles only. This limitation applies to both tennis and pickleball. Both facilities have posted specific policies for play. You are welcome to play in either location but please follow the rules. This is a good opportunity to drill! Failing to follow the rules could harm our relationship with these municipalities and be detrimental to pickleball play as we make our way back to normalcy. The parks and recreation departments of these two cities have been supportive of pickleball, and as we continue to pursue better facilities, it is important that we respect their decisions.


Forest Hill park in Carmel is open for doubles play over the tennis net. As such, Forest Hill has seen a significant increase in play of both tennis and pickleball. This park operates on a time limit, so, if others are playing when you arrive, you may opt to wait your turn. Play time limits are posted. Please respect the posted play times if others are waiting.


Doubles play is also allowed at Wheeler Courts in Seaside during posted times, however, there are no nets. You must bring your own net you want to play there.

Like PG and VP, Forest Hill and Wheeler are embedded in residential neighborhoods, so, please try to keep noise to a minimum to avoid a neighbor revolt like we have seen in the other two communities.

Correction: I'm told only singles play is allowed at Wheeler Courts. Please review the sign posed at the courts before you play. [8/31/2020 4:12PM]

Just to reiterate, any play at the above sites is at your own discretion and the club is not currently endorsing or facilitating play at any location. The above is for informational purposes only.


Additional Court Capacity

As most of you know, before the pandemic, play at Via Paraiso suffered from long wait times due to the large number of players. Sometimes we waited more than we played! The club has been seeking to add more courts for play for several years. Unfortunately, working with local governments can be a slow process, however, we have, and will, remain persistent in our efforts to add additional courts in the area.


About a year ago we received permission from the City of Monterey to repaint the pickleball lines at VP to increase from 4 to 6 courts. The stipulation was that we needed to pay for it ourselves. The cost was approximately $3,500. Thanks to donations from many of you as well fundraising efforts such as our first pickleball tournament (at Quail Lodge) we were able to raise the necessary funds. We hired a contractor and were ready to begin.


Unfortunately, when our contractor contacted the city to begin the process late last year, he was informed that the neighbors had submitted a petition to eliminate all pickleball play from Via Paraiso. As a result, representatives from MBPC met with their neighborhood organization and various City representatives including the Mayor to try to resolve the dispute. We also spoke at both the Parks and Recreation and City Council meetings. We even formed our own petition asking Monterey residents to support pickleball play at VP. In the end, the painting was put on hold but we preserved play at VP by agreeing to abandon Saturday play.


During that time, many of you asked what was happening with the painting and, unfortunately, the responses and overall communication from the Board was muted. We discovered that the well organized VP neighbors were reading our web site and using our own communication against us. Since our club is open to anyone, we didn’t know if they might have ‘spies’ registered on our website and therefore receiving our club announcements. Now that the issue is resolved and since everything is shut down due to Covid-19, we wanted to share the reasoning for our muted communication during that time.


New Venues

Perhaps the only positive outcome from that turmoil was an increased urgency for the City of Monterey to find a better home for pickleball. Some of you may recall that we have been working with the City of Monterey to develop a dedicated pickleball facility for several years.


Last year, we received a $4500 allocation from the city to identify a site capable of hosting a 6 court dedicated pickleball facility. This would include permanent, in ground nets and individually fenced courts (no more “Ball On!”). The cost of developing such a facility is about $250,000 and accounts for a significant portion of the City’s neighborhood improvement budget.


The City identified a site at Ryan Ranch and the project was tagged as one of the highest priority neighborhood projects for the upcoming year.


At nearly the same time, the Seaside City Council announced that they were acquiring a huge plot of Fort Ord land (almost 1/3 the current size of Seaside). Discussions during one of the council meetings indicated that various parks would be included in the master plan and, if we can get some or our Seaside members involved in the planning process, those parks might include pickleball courts.


Similarly, Monterey announced that they were acquiring the Old Capital site from the Pebble Beach Company. This is also a large plot of land (135 acres) with plans for parks and recreation facilities. Yet another option to lobby for pickleball courts.


Obviously, those were, and are, long term projects. To address the near term need, we had discussions with Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) regarding play on their their many tennis courts. They indicated that MPC is available to the community for play when there are no College classes or events. However, MPC does not provide any equipment (ie nets, balls, etc) and there is a fee for parking on weekdays. So, we made plans to play at MPC on weekends when parking is free and classes are not in session. We even purchased additional nets for use during club play at MPC.


Things couldn’t have been better! We had increased capacity for our busiest day of the week (Saturday), a medium term dedicated facility, and long term option for additional dedicated facilities.


And that's when Covid hit…..


Now the City of Monterey has significant financial hurdles to overcome and all money allocated to projects like our dedicated pickleball facility have been redirected to more important areas. The long term development opportunities on those new parcels in Monterey and Seaside are now even longer term.


Even our near term solution at MPC remains on hold as the campus courts continue to be closed due to the pandemic (please don't try to play there yet).


While this has been a crushing blow and it may seem that we have not accomplished anything, we thought it was important to show that a lot of work has been done by members of this club to advance picklball play on the peninsula. A big “Thank You!” goes out to all those people that attended council meetings, performed fund raising or contributed funds, worked to diffuse the situation with the neighbors, and to those that continue to support pickleball in our community in other ways.


Administrative Items

In dealing with the City of Monterey, we found that it would have been useful to know in which city each member resides. For example, when we prepared the petition in support of pickleball, we needed to contact all the Monterey residents. So, we’ve updated the web site to allow you to enter where you live – just the city, we do not need your full address. To provide this information, please login to your account on the web site (upper right corner), then, click on your name (also upper right corner) then select ‘My Account’ from the menu and fill out the ‘City’ field.


We have just passed our 1 year anniversary with the club web site. As such, some of you will soon receive your first renewal notice via email. Obviously, the club has not sponsored any activities in the last 5 months and we don’t know when it will again. So, while we appreciate your renewal donations (which are tax deductible 😊), we understand if you feel a contribution is not appropriate at this time. However, if you do decide to donate, please know that your money will go into our bank account to be used toward club expenses (the web site, nets, balls, etc) and improving our facilities. We currently have about $6000 in our account. For new court facilities, some sort of public/private partnership may help push pickleball facilities through the pipeline. As such, we plan to continue building up our bank balance, while also searching for development partners, so we can respond to an opportunity should one present itself.


Now, if someone out there has $250,000 they want to donate, don’t be shy! We have a beautiful new 6 court facility with your name on it!

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us at any time via the website:

https://www.montereypickleball.com/contact

Regards,

Michael Lang for the MBPC Board of Directors

Via Paraiso is now open ... for singles play only. The two 'permanent' nets remain out.

However, the club is not sponsoring play until we are given approval from the city for doubles play. We are in communication with the city of Monterey and will notify members when things change.

Please follow the new regulations posted at the court. It is very important that we follow these guidelines or the city will shut down the courts again.


Hello Pickleballers,

I hope this email finds everyone in good health during this COVID-19 induced Pandemic! It has been a few months now since the imposed shelter-in-place order. As a result, that has left many of us without the ability to play and socialize with each other. There are quite a few changes that have happened in the last few months and all of them will have an impact on our club and play! The Monterey Bay Pickleball Club Board has been in contact with the various agencies that allow us to use their facilities for Pickleball. We are making plans to resume play as soon as feasible, within the guidelines allowed. I will break down the plan at Via Paraiso in 3 steps:

  1. BEFORE PLAY: We will temporarily discontinue the use of the whiteboard as a queue for play and return to using the older method of placing paddles on the fence at the desired court of play. We will go back to assigning courts based of level of play ie. Court 1 is easy play, Courts 2 and 3 are intermediate play, and Court 4 is advanced play. Marks will be placed along the fence to remind players of the proper distancing needed. While the nature of playing pickleball on the court encourages social distancing, we will encourage the use masks either while waiting and or while playing. MBPC will have liquid soap available to facilitate washing hands after play as well as washing the ball before play. If you choose to use your personal ball, it will need to be disinfected prior to being put in play.

  2. DURING PLAY: A single ball on each court and social distancing will be maintained when possible. A current practice in the pickleball community has been wearing a glove on the non-paddled hand as this prevents community exposure to the ball during play. We will encourage this practice when club play resumes.

  3. AFTER PLAY: Paddle tapping is not discouraged as a show of sportsmanship as long as social distancing is maintained. Please be aware of others as you place your paddles on the fence on the desired court of play as this will allow the oncoming foursome to retrieve their paddles prior to you placing your paddle on the fence. Game balls will be placed in the bucket so the following group will be able to disinfect it prior to their game. After placing the paddles in the fence and replacing the ball, please find a spot along the fence line and maintain social distancing while waiting for your next game. Again, wearing a mask while waiting is encouraged if you choose to do so.

By following these guidelines, this will allow the maximum number of players on the court without limiting our numbers.

Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the MBPC was well on the way to securing a permanent home for the club. Members of the club had submitted a plan for funding of a permanent pickleball complex at Ryan Ranch through the city of Monterey. We had strong support from the Parks and Recreation Department, Parks and Recreation Commission as well as the City Managers office. Unfortunately, COVID-19 caused Monterey to have to pull funds from the Neighborhood and Community Improvement Program (NCIP). This has caused a set back of at least one year. The NCIP was responsible for funding our current layout at Via Paraiso and resurfacing the courts after Jay Zwagerman submitted the project.

I had a meeting with the City Manager in early March and came to a compromise on court usage at Via Paraiso. As you know, Pickleball on the peninsula has become more and more popular. Saturday has traditionally been our busiest day and we only have priority times the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month. As a compromise to the neighborhood around Via Paraiso, MBPC offered to stop play on Saturdays to help appease those neighbors resistant to pickleball.

An alternative site for weekend play has been established at MPC . Everything is fluid in this new world of COVID-19, however, it is promising to have this facility available to us.

As for the other sites for play on the central coast (Pacific Grove, Carmel, and Seaside), these courts will be opened based on the regulations of each city. The MBPC will let you know once the decision is made to open these courts up for play. The assumption is that they will follow the lead of the Monterey County Health Director.

The MBPC board misses everyone and we look forward to the time when we can once again resume play…hopefully sooner than later! In the mean time, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me personally and I will try to answer your inquiries to the best of my ability!

See you on the courts,

Mark Thomas

(831) 594-7373

MBPC President

USAPA Ambassador

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Monterey Bay Pickleball Club exists to promote and develop the sport of pickleball on the Monterey Peninsula.

© 2019 by Monterey Bay Pickkleball Club

Monterey, California

Monterey Bay Pickleball Club is an IRS-approved 501c Non-Profit organization.  All donations are tax deductible.