With pickleball growing in popularity, the city of Durango looks to find outdoor spaces where it can host players of the burgeoning sport.
In many communities nationwide, pickleball players are allowed to play on tennis courts, but not in Durango.
Parks and Recreation Director Ture Nycum said many of the tennis courts owned by the city of Durango are nestled within neighborhoods, and the sport of pickleball can be a bit loud for that setting.
“It makes it difficult to put pickleball courts on our tennis courts, not physically, but the use of it,” Nycum said. “The sound pickleball creates from the clacking of the paddles on the ball tends to be disruptive in a neighborhood setting.”
It is a problem communities across the country are having to address.
Nycum said he recognizes there are a number of people who enjoy pickleball and that the city is looking to develop outdoor courts on one of its properties in the future.
“I’m reopening conversations about where we can put pickleball courts permanently,” he said. “We’re looking at a few options on our properties. ... We’re trying to find accommodations, but it’s just not as easy as you’d think it would be.”
Nycum said if the city is quick in finding a spot to develop outside pickleball courts, it would still likely be 2023 at the earliest before those courts might be open to the public.
“We would love to be able to have it this coming spring and summer season, but realistically, finding a location and getting pickleball courts built probably won’t happen till 2023,” he said.
Nycum said he’s open to community suggestions for pickleball locations, and that he’s working with the local pickleball community to address the lack of outdoor courts.
“We’re trying to even be creative and find some open areas that are asphalted that we could put temporary courts on,” he said. “If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions out there, we’re all ears.”
In the past, the city has worked with the school district to allow for pickleball at Needham Elementary School and Durango High School.
“We put pickleball lines on the courts at the elementary school this summer, and that again created some issues with the neighborhood because of the noise that was created from the pickleball,” Nycum said.
At the high school, tennis courts were resurfaced and pickleball lines were not added as part of that project.
Pickleball is allowed at the Durango Community Recreation Center, but there are no outdoor options in the city for pickleball players.
“It’s very popular,” said Assistant Recreation Director Kelli Jaycox.
Jaycox said in the morning when courts are scheduled specifically for pickleball, about 25 to 30 players show up daily.
“If you came in at like 10:30, then you’d see about 25 people in the gym playing pickleball,” she said.