This letter is in response to the article: Tennis Players at Hall Memorial Park fight to save courts from pickle ball conversion
The biggest argument for the tennis group is: “They are OUR courts and we are entitled to these forever.”
The courts are the property of the City of Milpitas and the City is responsible for making the best use of the space for the entire city. Not just the tennis community or even the local community, which may already have as many pickleball players as tennis players.
There are 25 tennis courts in Milpitas (including the 4 at Hall Park). All are within a 10 minute drive from Hall Park. There are 2 outdoor pickleball courts (excluding Hall Park) in Milpitas. The 2 courts do not have lights for nighttime play.
The number of pickleball players in Milpitas may already exceed the tennis count after only one year.
The only city park courts far enough away from residents to avoid noise issues are Gill and Hall Park. The 3 courts at Gill Park are heavily used by the tennis community.
Hall was selected for the Pickleball Pilot Program due to its distance from residential homes and low tennis usage.
Hall has been a tremendous success! By this past summer we were experiencing 70+ players waiting to share the 6 pickleball courts (24 players at a time playing doubles). From 6 pm to 10 pm, there would be about 150 different people playing pickleball each night! Meanwhile, the tennis courts would be mostly empty!
Check the usage data collected by the City, not the misinformation presented by the tennis community.
Data for daytime usage at Hall and Gill for pickleball is comparable to the nighttime pickleball usage volume. We are talking about 300 different people playing pickleball each day! And pickleball usage is continuing to grow at a very rapid rate.
Usage data was collected over several months by City employees keeping a low profile.
The data supported all courts being used for pickleball.
From the beginning of the year, the Milpitas Pickleball Club recommended at least one tennis court remain at Hall Park. We felt it was appropriate, given the history of tennis at Hall park and the willingness of the tennis & pickleball communities to work together. Our objective from the beginning has been to be a good community member and not just lookout for our own best interest.
I have had interactions with some of the tennis leaders to share our direction. I have suggested the possibility of using MHS tennis courts for Milpitas residents during non-school hours. This is an arrangement used by many cities in the area (Palo alto, San Jose, Saratoga, etc.). Given that several members of the current Milpitas City Council had promoted their past MUSD experience and their ability to work together on common interest, it seems like a reasonable topic to approach. I have shared this with some members of the city, but not all. This is where city council leadership is needed.
Despite what the tennis community has stated, they have had many opportunities to participate in Hall Park usage discussion.
There were posters all over Hall Park prior to finalizing the pilot program in 2022. No one from the tennis community took the time to participate.
There were posters and other notices from the city advertising the September 25, 2023 community meeting. I personally sent a copy of the community meeting to one of the tennis leaders. I wanted the tennis community to be involved in the discussion! No one from the tennis community showed up (maybe one).
My understanding is of the approximately 200 people that responded to the online survey, 60 identified as tennis players. How is it possible that the tennis community was not aware of the survey when 30% were tennis players?
The tennis community seems to feel we should go away until the city finds available property, funds to buy the property at $1 million plus for only 8 courts. You want us to drive 30+ minutes to another city with already crowed courts? Empty tennis courts exist in Milpitas and are only a 6 – 10 minute drive, if needed.
Members of the tennis community are posting on the Milpitas Pickleball Club facebook attempting to start arguments. Posts like: “It doesn’t matter if there are a million pickleball players waiting. You don’t take away the tennis courts just because nobody is playing for certain day/night.”
Perhaps they should show us the same respect and understanding we have shown them.
President of Milpitas Pickleball Club