The Cerritos Parks and Recreation Commission has approved the review and consideration of the placement of pickleball lines at 's tennis court, and now the final decision to implement the new courts is in the hands of the Cerritos City Council.
As a sport that has rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years, pickleball is similar to tennis in that it is played on a hard floor court with a net between the players. But instead of a tennis ball, players hit wiffle balls -- a plastic ball filled with swiss cheese like holes that is larger than a tennis ball. And instead of using rackets, players hit the wiffle ball with wooden paddles. This, in turn, has branded it a great sport for senior citizens who like to stay active in both an indoor and outdoor setting.
Kit Snider, a local resident who organizes pickleball games at said the people who play range in age from nine to 85. Despite this, she'd like to see more involvement from the seniors.
“There's lots of programs for kids, but Cerritos has an aging population,” Snider said. “I think the seniors want to be active. When we get a little older, we can't move around as fast as tennis requires.”
At the Feb. 2 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, supporters of pickleball play filled the seats along with residents living near Westgate Park. The main concern for residents is the possible loss of the sole tennis court at the park. Others voiced worry over the possible increase of traffic should pickleball courts be installed. Parking problems were also at issue.
Resident Steve Godlewski expressed concern that the courts would cause more congestion in the local housing track.
“I'd like to see the basketball courts gone, myself,” Godlewski said. “I see what's there at night when I come home. I'd like to see the lights taken out, myself. I'm against pickleball, because I heard it makes a lot of noise. There's more people on the court at one time. It's in a residential area. You're gonna plug up that whole street.”
Local boy scout, Matthew Taylor, uses the park's tennis court to practice with his fellow Mayfair High School tennis teammates. With Mayfair's tennis courts closing too early to play at night, the Westgate Park tennis court is the nearest place for the teens to practice.
“I do not intend to be resistant to change, but this inconvenience will not allow me to play tennis within walking distance of my house,” Taylor said.
Speaking in support of the pickleball court, Cerritos resident, Chris Foster, joked “pickleball is not an initiation for any gang in Southern California, all night raves don't have it (pickleball) at the high point of their experience and there's not one member of al-Qaeda among the pickleball players here.”
“There are 36 tennis courts in Cerritos,” Foster said. “The city gave $375 to refurbish theirs recently, with the express idea that they would be open to the public. This one little court won't be missed.”
Parks and Rec Commissioner Kenneth Cha motioned to convert the Westgate Park tennis court to exclusively accommodate four pickleball courts. The motion passed 3-2. The item will now be carried over to the Cerritos City Council in order to fully determine whether the court transition will be made.
(To read more about the Pickleball craze in Cerritos, click here to read the Patch feature on this rapidly growing sport.)