Santa Clarita’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission is looking into ways to meet its multigenerational needs and implement programs for seniors and young children alike.
Thus, the commission will begin a conversation about bringing an official pickleball program to the city at its April 5 meeting.
The sport of pickleball was first developed in 1965. It is played on asphalt courts that can also be used for badminton or tennis. It uses ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. Points can scored by the serving side when an opponent fails to return the ball, volleys in the non-volley zone or hits the ball out of bounds. The game is won when one side reaches a score of 11 and is leading by at least two points.
“Pickleball seems to be a growing sport within the senior population, and we are studying to what degree younger populations are going to be playing it at well.” said commission chair Kieran Wong. “It’s a sport that can be used on existing tennis courts, so from an infrastructural standpoint it makes sense and is very viable.”
In 2013, the city first offered pickleball as a drop-in activity twice a week at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex Gymnasium. By 2015, due to increased participation, it became an “Open Play” program.
By 2018, participation has grown to nearly 3,400 annual participants at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex Gymnasium and Newhall Community Center.
The city currently offers a total of 12 permanent pickleball courts, including four outdoor courts at Bouquet Canyon Park, two outdoor courts and two indoor courts at the Newhall Community Center and four indoor courts at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex Gymnasium.
This is one of the commission’s first investigations into multigenerational needs, which the city is prioritizing, Wong said. The commission has set 10 goals for the upcoming year, with multigenerational activity programs and using existing infrastructure at the forefront.
The commission is still in the early stages of studying different programs before it moves on to considering implementation, Wong said.
“I think with a study session on pickleball, it’s going to open up the door to conversations about other possibilities, as well,” Wong said