(Updated at 2:20 p.m. on 6/4/2023) Pickleball players at McLean’s Lewinsville Park will soon no longer have to contend with wind gusts.
The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a $2,382 grant during its May 24 meeting to support the installation of black privacy slats on the fencing around the park’s dedicated pickleball courts at 1659 Chain Bridge Road.
“The increasing popularity of pickleball has been driving high demand for the athletic courts at Lewinsville Park,” the park authority said in a news release. “However, wind often interferes with play and hinders player performance and safety.”
The four courts opened last October as part of a $650,000 renovation that resurfaced all of the park’s tennis and basketball courts. One of the six existing tennis courts was converted into pickleball-only facilities, and another was restriped to support both sports.
Since then, “hundreds of players” have been utilizing the courts throughout the year, and demand “is expected to grow rapidly,” according to Baroody Camps, an organization that provides school and summer enrichment camps and programs.
Baroody works with the park authority to provide recreational programming, including pickleball. The lack of wind screens for the Lewinsville pickleball courts has become a frequent issue for players, the company said in its Mastenbrook grant application to the FCPA.
“Wind impacts all players at every skill level, undermining players’ ability to place and return the ball and in some cases forcing players to rapidly shift running direction to reach the ball in play, creating a safety hazard,” Baroody founder and owner Peter Baroody wrote.
In addition to “slowing the crosswinds that occur at the site,” the slats could also potentially “aid in noise reduction,” Baroody told FFXnow.
With the project carrying an estimated cost of $4,764, Baroody will match the approved grant funds and take full responsibility for maintaining the slats, though it says the equipment provider, Long Fence, describes its windscreen “as virtually maintenance-free.”
According to FCPA staff, the project will add 230 linear feet of 9-foot-high slats on the existing pickleball court fencing along the 120-foot sideline and along 110 feet of endline.
The installation is expected to be completed this summer.
Photo courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority/Flickr
The tennis courts at Rutherford Park in Wakefield area will be closed for about two weeks, starting around Memorial Day.
The park’s three tennis courts are set to undergo resurfacing work from approximately Monday, May 29 until June 12, the Fairfax County Park Authority announced today.
Unfortunately for local pickleball players, no changes will be made to the programming or layout of the facility at 4710 Guinea Road.
“Rutherford Park is not a candidate for pickleball courts and will not receive any pickleball lining,” the FCPA said.
Instead, the project will consist of “pressure washing…cleaning and filling existing cracks, resurfacing, color coating and lining for tennis, and installing new net posts,” according to the news release.
About $38,000 has been allocated to the resurfacing project in the county’s current fiscal year 2023 budget.
Residents are sounding off about a proposal to renovate the Barton Hill tennis courts in Reston.
Concerns about noise management dominated a March 22 community meeting where staff offered an update on the project, which would convert some tennis courts into six permanent pickleball courts.
Megan Murphy, a mom of two who moved from Rosslyn to Reston for the calm of the latter’s more suburban environment, said the pickleball court could compromise the quietness she desired for her 5-year-old child, who has special needs.
“I’m so excited for all the pickleball players that you have found your passion, that you found your love, that you’ve got something that’s getting you out there and active and social,” Murphy said. “But I think we need to be really careful and not just footstep all of the concerns that people have expressed.”
Concerns about the noisiness of the popular sport have mounted nationwide. Earlier this year, the Town of Vienna cut restricted pickleball hours at Glyndon Park due to noise complaints. Over in Arlington, the sport has fueled warring flier campaigns between neighbors and lawsuit threats.
The tennis courts on the west side of the facility at 1901 Barton Hill Road would have blended lines to allow additional courts as needed, and dividers would separate pickleball and tennis courts.
Both parking lots will be repaved, and drainage improvements are planned at the southeast corner of the site. The project is currently in the early phases of planning and scoping. Construction could begin later this year, depending on the approval process.
Chris Schumaker, Reston Association’s director of capital projects, said a noise study at the Autumnwood pickleball courts found that decibel levels did not exceed 60 or 100 beyond 150 feet of the facility. The March 9 study was done during peak afternoon play when all pickleball and hybrid courts were at capacity, according to RA.
The sound for pickleball ranges from 57 to 79 decibels, depending on proximity and the type of equipment used. That is 25 decibels more than a tennis racket hitting a ball, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Schumaker also noted that scheduling for pickleball and nearby soccer events can be staggered to reduce the chances of overflow into the street.
“What we did did is a preemptive measure to kind of see what we are dealing with from a data standpoint,” Schumaker told residents.
Laura David, a local resident, said she was concerned the “wonderful enthusiasm” of pickleball players would attract crowds, teams waiting for a turn, and significant noise in a natural habitat ravine near the property, which has a neighborhood in roughly 1,000 feet of the courts.
“There’s no way parking and traffic will be safe for our kids on bikes, for our people walking dogs, and for the general appreciation of a Sunday morning 7 a.m. quiet cup of coffee on the deck of our back of our properties,” David said.
In response to reservations about the safety of an adjacent crosswalk where turning vehicles are faced with a blind side, Schumaker emphasized that any changes would require VDOT approval and are not part of the project.
Rob Richardson, a player and local resident, said it was important to acknowledge that the scenario of having 24 players on the court and 24 waiting for their turn may only occur during peak hours. But he also conceded that “no one wants pickleball in their backyard,” and he might be opposed if it was in his.
Others voiced concerns about tension between tennis and pickleball players in the hybrid facility.
“The pickleball/tennis battle…can get nasty and contested,” resident Renee Shipe said. She suggested that RA implement a possible reservation system or process improvements to help enforce rules and regulations.
RA CEO Mac Cummins said the current plans are preliminary, and the feedback may inform future changes.
“Part of our job is to hear you all tonight and report back tot he board and make the final financial decision,” Cummins said.
Photo via Joan Azeka/Unsplash
Getting court time at Glyndon Park in Vienna may be tougher going forward for pickleball players.
In the hopes of alleviating noise complaints from nearby residents, the Vienna Town Council approved a significant reduction in playing time for the increasingly popular sport at the 11-acre park’s four courts during its Monday (Jan. 23) meeting.
However, the new schedule represents less of a reduction in days than initially proposed, allowing pickleball on four days per week instead of just three. It also eliminates shared playing times between tennis and pickleball, so hours designated for pickleball will be exclusively reserved for that sport.
“I see this as a long-term issue,” said Councilmember Chuck Anderson, who proposed the adopted schedule. “I think we all on council agree on that, that what we need to do is roll up our sleeves and take a look at capacity. This is a rapidly growing game. It’s very popular, but it also has a noise issue, and it’s something I think we need to work on and manage.
Pickleball is now limited at the park to the following hours:
Dec. 1 to the end of February
- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday
March 1 through Nov. 30
- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
Outside of those hours, only tennis will be allowed. The courts close at 10 p.m.
As part of the approved motion, the council also directed the Department of Parks and Recreation to post signage at the park recommending that pickleball players use “quiet” paddles that supposedly make less noise.
Prior to Monday’s 5-2 vote, pickleball and tennis were both permitted at Glyndon Park (300 Glyndon Street NE) seven days a week, but they alternated during open-play hours on Monday through Thursday mornings — a schedule confusing enough that the town council spent several minutes of a Jan. 23 conference session on the proposed changes trying to get clarification.
Anderson said he had considered continuing some shared usage of the courts as part of his proposal but ultimately decided it would be too complicated. He also found that the suggestion didn’t appeal to either pickleball players or the residents who raised the noise issues.
“If you start sharing [on pickleball days], you have to do it the other way too,” he said. “On a tennis day, if the tennis courts aren’t being used and a pickleball player shows up, it would be used, and I just don’t think that’s workable.”
Since Vienna added pickleball lines to Glyndon Park’s two tennis courts in 2020, some residents have complained that the noise made by paddles hitting the plastic balls is “unbearable,” an issue that has cropped up across the country.
Town staff reduced open-play hours and introduced a reservation system for afternoons, but complaints persisted, with some residents calling for pickleball to be banned from the park altogether, Parks and Rec Director Leslie Herman told the council.
After talking with staff, the residents agreed limiting pickleball to Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays would be acceptable, leading Mayor Linda Colbert and Councilmember Ed Somers to object to the addition of a fourth day.
“I’m just concerned about adding a fourth day at this point. I might get there eventually if more people use the soft paddles, if the noise is reduced, if things change, I could get there very easily, but I’m not there right now,” Somers said to a smattering of claps from the audience.
Anderson and other supporters of the four-day schedule said it would give players more flexibility, while starting play later and ending it earlier.
“There’s just a one-hour difference, and it gives people more peace in the mornings and evenings,” Councilmember Nisha Patel noted.
The nationwide face-off between pickleball enthusiasts and homeowners has arrived in the Town of Vienna.
In the hopes of quieting resident noise complaints, the town council is set to vote on Monday (Jan. 30) to reduce pickleball play to three days per week at the courts in Glyndon Park (300 Glyndon Street NE).
Currently available seven days a week, the four pickleball courts would open Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays under the proposal from the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department. The hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays would remain the same, but on Saturdays, they would end at 5 p.m.
Town staff recommended an 8 a.m. start time for Saturday, but at a conference session on Jan. 23 that saw some tense back-and-forth exchanges on both the dais and from the audience, a few council members suggested considering 9 a.m. instead, since kids might want to sleep in on the weekend.
“I don’t know that anybody is a hundred percent thrilled with this, but it is in my mind a compromise, and it’s something we can do right now,” Mayor Linda Colbert said.
Glyndon Park’s pickleball courts were welcomed with gusto by local players — including the mayor, who also partakes in tennis — when they opened in October 2020. With aid from the Vienna Pickleball Club, which paid for some of the equipment, the town added pickleball markings to the two existing tennis courts as part of a planned refurbishment.
However, players have run afoul of some nearby residents, who describe the sound of paddles hitting the plastic balls as “unbearable, loud and constant,” according to one comment in an October survey conducted by the parks department.
“The noise is unbearable,” wrote a resident of Jean Place NE, which is across the street from the courts. “The constant popping 12 hours a day 7 days a week is borderline torture. We cannot use our outdoor space anymore due to pickleball and cannot open our windows.”
The survey went to 34 households and received 17 responses, including seven from people who reported having no issues with pickleball. Parking and traffic complaints also came up, but Parks Director Leslie Herman said those “have been taken care of” with signage directing players to an overflow parking lot by the baseball diamonds.
Vienna isn’t alone in seeing clashes between homeowners and pickleball players. As the sport has grown in popularity over the past decade, so have the noise complaints, leading some communities to close courts and others to be taken to court — including in nearby Arlington County.
The sound level for pickleball is anywhere from 57 to 79 decibels, depending on proximity and the type of equipment used. That’s 25 decibels higher than a tennis racket hitting a ball, according to the Los Angeles Times.
People talking can also contribute to the noise levels, Councilmember Ray Brill said, recalling a visit to Glyndon Park where he saw dozens of people at the courts who weren’t playing.
“I love exercising, and I love playing sports outdoors, but we have neighbors we have to be considerate of,” Brill said. “There’s no shortcuts, so we have to compromise. We have to allow people to play, but they have to take steps to reduce the noise.” Read More
Fairfax County’s inventory of pickleball facilities has expanded with the arrival of 10 courts dedicated to the increasingly popular sport.
Newly renovated courts at Lewinsville Park in McLean and George Washington Park in Mount Vernon will officially open on Saturday, Oct. 15, the Fairfax County Park Authority announced yesterday (Thursday).
The festivities will start at 9 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting at GW Park (8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road) led by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck. Park officials and local pickleball advocates will also make remarks, and there will be time for photos and “light refreshments,” according to the news release.
The park authority began demolition work on the GW courts this spring, one of five court renovation or maintenance projects planned for this year.
The park’s four tennis courts have been converted into six courts dedicated to pickleball and two courts that can be used by both sports. The $202,306 renovation also added new surfacing, fencing and nets.
Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road) will get its ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. Expected speakers include FCPA Executive Director Jai Cole, Board Member Tim Hackman and Fairfax County Advocates for Pickleball, the release says.
Costing $650,000, the Lewinsville project resurfaced and added new fencing for all six of the park’s courts, but only one was turned into dedicated pickleball courts, a downsizing from the park authority’s original plans to repurpose two or three of the facilities.
Tennis players had argued that the county doesn’t have enough courts for their sport to cede or share that many with their pickleball-playing counterparts, a conflict that has emerged as a top challenge to the county’s efforts to add more pickleball facilities.
“The improvements align with recommendations in the recently completed Pickleball Study and are an effort to introduce a greater variety of court sports to accommodate the diverse users across the county,” the FCPA said of the Lewinsville and GW renovations. “Interest in pickleball locally and countywide is growing quickly, and the introduction of pickleball at these locations will address the need for additional facilities for this emerging sport.”
This summer, the park authority celebrated the launch of the Wakefield Park Pickleball and Tennis Complex in Annandale, a $410,000 renovation project that installed two pickleball courts and accessibility improvements.
Pickleball has evidently become a hot nighttime activity in the Town of Vienna.
Vienna police have issued six noise violations this year for players hitting the courts at Glyndon Park (300 Glyndon Street) after hours, according to the department.
The most recent issues were reported on Aug. 20 and 24, per the Vienna Police Department’s crime highlights for the week of Aug. 19-25:
Noise Violation 22-008587
300 Glyndon Street, NE
August 20 9:39 p.m.
A resident reported that people were playing pickleball on the tennis courts. The officer advised the people playing pickleball of the Park regulation.
Noise Violation 22-008719
300 Glyndon Street, NE
August 24 8:07 p.m.
A resident reported that people were playing pickleball on the tennis courts. The officer advised the people playing pickleball of the Park regulation that only tennis may be played on the courts after 8:00 p.m.
However, police also responded to noise complaints on Aug. 3 as well as Aug. 7 and 8, according to previous reports.
Four of the six violations involved different people, while two occasions involved the same participants, VPD spokesperson Juan Vazquez told FFXnow.
Glyndon Park’s two tennis courts were renovated so they could also be used as four pickleball courts in fall 2020. However, the park’s rules cut off pickleball play at 8 p.m., whereas tennis can continue until 10 p.m.
Noise has become a source of aggravation for some Vienna residents, whether from construction or outdoor dining, prompting the town council to agree in July to review the noise ordinance for the first time in a decade.
(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) The blacktop that passes for a basketball court behind Cedar Lane School in Vienna is up for some refurbishments.
Fairfax County Public Schools went before Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review last Thursday (Aug. 18) to obtain approval for proposed exterior modifications that would improve the 9,842-square-foot facility at 101 Cedar Lane with new basketball hoops, a resurfacing, and added playing lines.
Other planned changes include the addition of a 6-foot-tall, 488-foot-long black vinyl fence with four 6-foot-tall pedestrian gates, which would be located at the corners of the futsal court adjoined to the basketball court, according to a provided layout.
FCPS also intends to paint logos on the courts for itself, Vienna Youth Soccer, and Cedar Lane’s panther mascot.
The application was approved 5-0, according to the BAR clerk.
Though it has a small population of just 60 students, as of June 2021, Cedar Lane serves as one of FCPS’ two high schools for students with emotional, social and behavioral challenges.
Earlier this year, the Vienna Board of Architectural Review approved similar upgrades for the basketball court at nearby Cunningham Park Elementary School.
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Ribbon Cut on Wakefield Pickleball Courts — “This weekend we cut the ribbon on two new pickleball courts at Wakefield Park! Expanding access to this growing sport is a priority in Fairfax County.” [Supervisor James Walkinshaw/Twitter]
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Repaved Wakefield Courts to Reopen — “After months of repairs and conversion of existing courts to pickleball courts, it’s time to officially open the renewed and renovated Wakefield Park tennis and pickleball court complex…Please join us on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 9 a.m. for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a demonstration of [pickleball] and light refreshments.” [FCPA]
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