By Molly Myman
The tennis courts at Booker T. Anderson, Jr. Park in Richmond are set to transition into multi-use courts that allow for both tennis and pickle ball.
On Tuesday, Richmond City Council approved a plan to use a $5,000 Chevron Richmond Environmental and Community Investment (ECIA) mini-grant provided to the East Bay Pickleball Association (EBPA) to fund the Richmond park’s transition to multi-use courts.
Darlene Drapkin, a member of the EBPA, successfully applied for the grant and received support for the project at Booker T. Anderson Park from the Southside Plus One Neighborhood Council and also the Community Services Department Recreation and Parks and Landscaping Division.
The City’s decision to convert the courts is a timely one; pickleball is reportedly increasing in popularity and is considered one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. The sport combines aspects of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and is described as approachable in that it can be enjoyed by players of any age and skill level. The only equipment needed for play are paddles and a plastic ball with holes. Depending on the players’ experience, pickleball can be social and fun or highly competitive and fast-paced.
Supporters say the new pickleball courts will help maximize the park’s use and add another option for residents to be healthy and active. One tennis court can be converted into four pickleball courts, allowing for more people to use the space at the same time while also putting players in close proximity so they can socialize, they say.