By Kathy Chouteau
The East Bay Pickleball Association’s Richmond contingent has launched a Go Fund Me to help rebound from the theft of all of its athletic equipment from a lockbox at Booker T. Anderson Park around Wed., Nov.3.
Richmond Pickleball Ambassador Darlene Drapkin is leading the effort to raise $10,000 to purchase two sets of permanent pickleball nets and posts, which the group hopes to install on one tennis court at Booker T. Anderson Park. This game plan would keep the second tennis court open for both tennis and pickleball.
Drapkin said that if sufficient funds are raised, the group also would like to repaint the park’s two pickleball courts with corresponding colors and remove the tennis lines/background colors. “Resurfacing the courts is far beyond our budget for now,” she added.
Richmond’s pickleball program, which launched three months prior to the theft, has garnered the interest of more than 200 people for its free introductory clinics. Funding from multiple grants and individual donations supported the group in painting lines on the park’s tennis courts for six pickleball courts, as well as for purchasing nets, paddles and other supplies.
Drapkin said that during the group’s short existence in Richmond, it’s been evident that interest in the sport is ever-growing and that “the program must continue.” She said that using portable nets and storing supplies outdoors—which leaves them vulnerable to theft—isn’t sustainable anymore.
She added that the setback of the theft “provides an opportunity to advance Richmond pickleball one step further towards permanence.” Drapkin said the group hopes to speak at the Wed., Dec. 1 Recreation and Parks Commission meeting “to make the case that pickleball deserves some dedicated space.”
Richmond pickleball is meeting on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the next five weeks at the Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) for those who would like to participate. RPAL is located at 2200 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.