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Robertson Ranch Park designs to prioritize pickleball courts

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By Jacob Jackson

The city of Carlsbad is planning to build a new park on 11.2 acres near the intersection of El Camino Real and Cannon Road, known as Robertson Ranch Park. The park’s design and features are still being decided, but one of the top priorities that could be considered is pickleball courts.

Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. It is played on a smaller court with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. It is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, especially among older adults.

The city currently has six outdoor pickleball courts at Poinsettia Community Park and schedules indoor open play pickleball at the Pine Avenue Community Center, Calavera Hills Community Center and Stagecoach Community Center. However, the demand for pickleball courts exceeds the supply, as some players have to wait 30 minutes or longer for a space to become available.

Courts for Power Hitters

The city conducted a six-week usage study and found that pickleball usage was higher than tennis at Poinsettia Park, which has 10 lighted tennis courts. Some pickleball players have suggested that the city could convert some of the tennis courts into pickleball courts, as one tennis court is equivalent to four pickleball courts. However, some tennis players have opposed this idea, arguing that it would reduce the availability of tennis courts and impact their game.

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Both pickleball and tennis players have expressed a preference for dedicated (non-shared) courts, and neither has agreed to a compromise. The city has not made a final decision on how to allocate the space at Poinsettia Park, but it has indicated that pickleball courts are amenities that could be considered for future park sites, such as Robertson Ranch Park and Zone 5 Park.

The city is seeking input from the community on the park’s design and features, and has held two workshops in August, one in person and one virtual. It has also offered an online survey and an ideas wall for the public to give feedback between Aug. 17 and Sept. 7. The parks planning team will use the input gathered to create a few initial design concepts, which will be shared with the public for feedback later this year.

The new park is part of the City Council’s 5-Year Strategic Plan, focused on maintaining Carlsbad’s excellent quality of life and unique community character. The city does not have a timeline for construction, but once a park design is approved, the City Council will provide direction on funding and next steps.

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The city hopes to create a park that meets the needs and preferences of the residents, and that offers a variety of recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities. Pickleball courts are likely to be one of the features that will attract many visitors to the park, as the sport continues to grow in popularity and demand.

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