IVINS — A petition signed by more than 150 Ivins residents is asking the city’s leaders to construct more pickleball courts.
However, the head of Ivins’ parks said the space for additional courts is nearly non-existent at the city’s existing parks and it may be five years before the city adds additional park space that can accommodate such courts.
The petition was presented to the Ivins City Council at its most recent meeting on March 3.
“The undersigned, concerned Ivins City residents, would like to see additional public ‘dedicated’ pickleball courts constructed in our city’s parks as a benefit to residents of all ages,” the petition reads.
The word “dedicated” refers to the fact that of the city’s four existing pickleball courts, two share a dual purpose as basketball courts and aren’t regulation size.
Both of the city’s regulation-sized pickleball courts are at Desert Rose Park at 260 Desert Rose Way. The two other courts, which are only in use when basketball isn’t being played and portable nets are set up, are at 200 West and 400 South in Unity Park.
The petition argues that the four existing courts are almost always utilized, causing long wait times or forcing residents to travel south to the courts in Santa Clara.
During the March 3 meeting, Ivins Mayor Chris Hart asked Ivins Parks and Recreation Director Benny Sorensen if pickleball courts were the greatest need of the parks department.
“It depends on who you talk to,” Sorensen said. “If you talk to tennis people, you need more tennis courts. You talk to skaters, we need more skate parks.”
One suggestion by some of the petitioners is to add more courts by using space allotted to soccer west of the tennis courts at Unity Park. This would mean 25% less space for soccer but would add four pickleball courts – doubling the city’s existing number of courts.
But Sorensen said that shortchanges aficionados of one sport for another.
“I’m not a big fan of that,” Sorensen said.
Instead, Sorensen offered two short-term alternatives: Converting the existing sand volleyball court at Red Rock Canyon Park at 490 South and 720 East into a pickleball court. Sorensen said the conversion would cost the city $50,000.
The other possibility for pickleball courts is the detention basin at 400 South and 400 West directly to the west of Unity Park. Sorensen said while the basin exists to take on runoff from flash floods, it can be cleaned after those rare incidents.
In the long term, Sorensen said an increase in pickleball fields will come from the creation of new parks that are presently in the planning and land acquisition stages.
“Pickleball is something that we plan to include in our future parks. Currently, we do not have any property where we can build a new park; however, as we look to the future, we see two or three neighborhood parks and a community park being completed in the next two to 10 years,” Sorensen said.
One site in particular Ivins is looking at is a new regional park at the corner of Main Street and Old Dixie Highway 91 that, at 100 acres, would become the city’s largest at 8 times the size of Unity Park.
The new regional park could include four to eight pickleball courts, according to Sorensen. However, he added the new regional park is at least five years away and is predicated on the acquisition of land from the Bureau of Land Management.
In the meantime, Hart said the council will consider in a future meeting funding for the additional courts at the detention basin and Red Rock Canyon Park.
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