Painted lines on the tennis court and rolling nets stored nearby are not sufficient to win support from the Oregon North Coast Pickleball organization for new courts in Gearhart.
They are withdrawing an offer of $6,000 financial support for a pickleball court after the City Council revised the plan Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Alice Lane, ambassador of the pickleball organization, said she was “sad and disappointed” that Gearhart City Council “has lost the opportunity to be a positive leader for Communities providing equal recreational benefits for their community.”
Pickleball, similar to tennis, is an 11-point game and described as a cross between ping-pong and tennis, first came before the council when pickleball enthusiast Wally Hamer approached the City Council in May with proposed alterations to Gearhart’s two existing tennis courts in order to create space for pickleball without disruption to tennis players.
In subsequent months he was joined by organization members, local residents and pickleball officials, among them Alice Lane, ambassador of the pickleball organization.
In August, the council unanimously voted to install a new pickleball court at the tennis courts on Pacific Way and North Marion. The $16,000 plan would have removed the east tennis court in its entirety and installed two pickleball courts.
North Coast Pickleball was prepared to deliver $6,000 toward the cost, while the city would have designated $10,000, using from the city’s park budget or from short-term rental tax revenue from the Clatsop County Jail, close to $40,000.
But concerns from residents — including tennis players who bemoaned the loss of a tennis court — brought the matter back to the agenda.
Councilors considered options to add pickleball lines to both tennis courts; removing the east tennis court for a new dedicated pickleball court, and the new plan, at a total cost of about $2,800, calls for keeping both tennis courts while adding lines for two pickleball courts to the east court, with two rollaway pickleball nets creating a multiuse court.
Gearhart approved the $2,800, planning to seek partial financial participation from North Coast Pickleball.
On Thursday, Lane said the new plan failed to meet the organization’s needs. “I don’t think the city realizes that rollaways pickleball nets need to be protected from weather and vandalism,” she said. “We’d just be throwing money away. We still have places to play and where everyone is welcome.”
Meanwhile, the city has moved forward by contacting a pickleball painter and pricing rollaway nets, City Administrator Chad Sweet said Thursday.