San Luis Obispo City Council overturns decision to install pickleball courts in Mitchell Park

In February, city council decided to move forward with installing pickleball courts in Mitchell Park despite community concerns.

Now the city is going backwards this decision, instead of voting to install “chess / checkers tables, pétanque grounds, shade structures and stage setup in the social gathering area, additional benches, interactive educational signage and path lighting “, according to their agenda report of a meeting on October 12.

The city will reallocate the $ 210,000 set aside for the two pickleball fields to other facilities as part of the historic park redevelopment efforts.

Some community members viewed pickleball as a fun and safe activity for the community. But last spring, around 20 community members criticized plans to establish courts in Mitchell Park.

Some feared that pickleball courts would reduce the space available for homeless residents of San Luis Obispo.

Michelle Mansker, an advocate for the homeless community, said the proposed plans for the park appeared to be “a way to possibly force members of the homeless community out of Mitchell Park,” according to a precedent. Mustang News article.

Bobby Gallo, a resident of San Luis Obispo, described Mitchell Park as a “little gem in the crown of downtown San Luis Obispo”. Gallo supports park improvement plans with new equipment.

“This park hasn’t been renovated in a while,” said Gallo.

Gallo said he didn’t see the need for pickleball pitches, however.

“It would probably be a waste of money if it wasn’t needed anyway,” said Gallo.

However, other residents would have liked the pickleball courts to be added to the downtown park.

Jobie Brigham said she thinks pickleball courts would be a good idea, especially since pickleball is a safe activity to play during the pandemic.

The improvements to the park follow the adoption of Proposition 68 adopted in 2018, which recognizes “the need for underserved communities to have equitable access to outdoor recreation facilities”. The proposal provides funds to rehabilitate parks like Mitchell Park in an effort to attract new and diverse people.

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