Make Pickleball Courts Permanent at Public Parks in Palm Springs!

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We firmly believe “that all residents of Palm Springs have the right to use all of the city's public park facilities, on a first-come-first serve basis, including the use of all of the Tennis Courts and/or Pickleball in all of the parks, for activities that are ‘Tennis or Tennis Related Activities.’ We request that Pickleball Courts should be made permanent at Ruth Hardy Park, located in Central Palm Springs,” Dean Mangione, USA Pickleball Association Ambassador - Palm Springs, CA

Let our voices be heard! Please help us by signing this call for action and by sharing this with other Pickleball players and those that want to start and enjoy the sport we love, Pickleball.

As the fastest growing racquet sport Pickleball continues to create momentum from local residents and visitors, Pickleball courts have become so scarce to meet the demands among its enthusiasts, young and more mature players especially during the Fall and Winter Seasons. As of this date, Pickleball players use the Demuth Park where there are eight dedicated Pickleball courts. These courts, just so you know are just right next to the PS Solid Waste Management facilities.

Come Fall and Winter Seasons, Pickleball players sign up on a white board at the Demuth Park to queue in games every morning. It could take from 20-45 minutes to wait under the sun for a game during these seasons due to lack of courts. Hence, the Pickleball players started to seek alternative venues to play more Pickleball where it should be more accessible and convenient.

Oh by the way, have you ever played at Demuth when suddenly your sweaty nose catches a whiff of the regularly dumped solid waste at the facility next to the park and you suddenly stretched your shirt’s hemline to cover your face while you want to concentrate to dink and slam those yellow balls? Yup. This happens all the time. Every time we see a truck coming into the solid waste facility for a dump, we jump for joy.

Seriously, because this venue is the only one we have we cannot complain. We succumb to that adage, “Do we have a choice or just better than nothing.” It isn’t really pleasant to play nor you can enjoy a leisure-to-competitive games when you are swaddled by the foul odor of the solid waste in that facility. This in the long run can also be a health risk for our players. Erin Brockovich will have a ball in this town for sure.

Hence, the Ruth Hardy Park Weekend Pickleball Games started. Our Pickleball ambassadors and volunteers pitch in to bring and install proper courts to two partially shaded tennis courts at the park. Imagine these ungrudging men and women who come to Ruth Hardy Park as early as six in the morning to bring the equipment and create temporary lines for the courts every Saturday and Sunday morning. This, just to make at least 25 players enjoy cool and breezy Pickleball games at the public park.

Then our nightmare started to haunt us. The tennis community began to bully us away from the public park facility. We had heard and seen spitefulness coming from these tennis players: from racially driven statements to outright acts of arrogant entitlement that our group had to call the Palm Springs Police to mediate. Believe me, it had to come to that point.

Just like any other sport community, we try and want to foster camaraderie and a sense of community, but to be bullied like that we Pickleball players will stand our ground, on those courts specifically. We are all mature individuals and sadly some are not mature enough to cultivate and promote ‘sportsmanship’ among community members. Palm Springs is a fun and a relaxing city that must be shared and enjoyed equally.

We are all aware that the Demuth Park has dedicated Pickleball courts and the two tennis courts for nearby tennis players can also relish the accessibility of the courts. The City Council Parks and Rec has already agreed based on recent meetings to blend in Pickleball court lines on one of the tennis courts at the Demuth Park to build four more courts. However, the Pickleball court nets will have to be portable so that when tennis players show up they will still be able to play tennis. Picture those Pickleball players giving way to the tennis players and walking away head down wishing they could play some more Pickleball games.

Although we loved this decision of blending in new lines to create four Pickleball courts, this is not the real issue we are pointing out. We want to stress out that public parks should be shared and must be enjoyed by local taxpayers, whether tennis players, Pickleball players or any member of this wonderful town.

Lately, Palm Springs has been raking in glittering medals from out of town and state and out of state tournaments. Quite a few of our local Pickleball players have received from bronze to gold medals from these competitions. We, indeed Palm Springs represent! 

The issue on the Ruth Hardy Park squabble has ultimately been brought out to the public as it had been published on our local newspapers that sparked a hubbub within our community. From the article it’s furthermore disappointing to read a quote from the P&R commissioner of her personal leaning to the tennis community. Our Pickleball ambassadors Dean and Nancy Mangione eloquently once again spoke at the the Parks and Recreation City Council meeting to point out for the nth time our calls for permanent Pickleball courts at the Ruth Hardy Park and additional Pickleball courts over at the Demuth Park.

Dean Mangione, USAPA Ambassador - PS speaks: 

“For the Director of Parks and Recreation to declare in a publicly recorded meeting that she will work toward banning Pickleball at Ruth Hardy Park on our public taxpayer courts is odd and it demonstrates the ongoing bias against expanding Pickleball in Palm Springs and the unwillingness to find a reasonable compromise solution, which involves “sharing” public facilities with your fellow citizens in a civil manner.  Since we are equally sharing two tennis courts at Demuth Park, why cannot we equally share tennis courts at Ruth Hardy Park?

We offered a free solution today, put forward the US Tennis Association, but it is clear to me that no one had the interest or authority to accept the “free tennis court resurfacing offer” paid for by the US Tennis Association, which addresses this national Tennis-Pickleball issue.  To be a part of a National USTA Pilot Program would have shown Palm Springs to be a proactive international sports community.  But instead, as grown adults, we are still arguing about the concept of sharing, a subject we hopefully we learned in 1st Grade.

It is disappointing that the City of Palm Springs Recreation Department cannot accept free tennis court resurfacing capital improvements from the US Tennis Association on badly worn-out tennis courts and at the same time threaten to ban our sport of Pickleball from being played in a public park on public facilities by hundreds of Palm Springs residents and taxpayers.

It is even more disappointing that no one has accepted my offer to meet in person at the RH tennis courts to discuss and examine the court surface issues under discussion, physically touch the court surface with your hand, and discover for yourself there are no sticky residue problems.  You have been misinformed which can only be proven by a site visitation.  Please take 5 minutes and see and “feel” for yourself.  We have used this specific tape at Demuth Park Tennis Courts and on numerous tennis courts in the valley for tournaments with hundreds of players with no issues for several years. 

The tape is a non-issue.  Equal access to public facilities for all “Palm Springs” residents is the real issue.

I hope you can shed some light on this matter and / or explain the legal reason to the Pickleball community why they are not welcome to play Pickleball on their public courts, per the current city posted rules.

As the USAPA has just signed a strategic alliance with the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), I think their motto is a fitting ending to this request:  “ALL SPORTS – FOR ALL PEOPLE – FOREVER.”

We firmly believe that all residents of Palm Springs have the right to use all of the city's public park facilities, on a first-come-first serve basis, including the use of all of the Tennis Courts and/or Pickleball in all of the parks, for activities that are “Tennis or Tennis Related Activities." We request that Pickleball Courts should be made permanent at Ruth Hardy Park, located in Central Palm Springs.”