The Growing Popularity of Pickleball in Denver

Denver Explores Regulations and Opportunities for Pickleball Enthusiasts

The sport of pickleball has been steadily gaining popularity in Denver, with enthusiasts flocking to parks and recreation centers to engage in the beloved game. However, recent discussions have arisen regarding the regulation of pickleball and its impact on local communities.

Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment is currently revising the city’s noise ordinance, and city officials have sought input from residents on how recreational activities, including pickleball, should be considered in the revision. The concerns raised primarily stem from the proximity of pickleball courts to residential areas.

Scott Gilmore, the Deputy Executive Director of Parks and Recreation in Denver, stated that the department is considering appropriate distances between pickleball courts and homes to address these concerns. While no concrete decisions have been made yet, it is clear that the local government is taking these matters seriously.

In the meantime, Denver Parks and Recreation still offers numerous options for pickleball enthusiasts. There are currently six parks with outdoor pickleball courts, including Northfield Athletic Complex, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Skyland Park, Huston Lake Park, Bear Valley Park, and Eisenhower Park. These facilities provide ample opportunities for residents to enjoy the sport as the weather warms up.

Furthermore, the Facebook group “Denver Pickleball United” serves as a gathering place for pickleball players who share a passion for the game. With over 1,500 members, the group has been instrumental in coordinating play sessions at various parks, such as Huston Lake, MLK, and Northfield. This sense of community and inclusivity is what made the now-closed Congress Park courts so special to many members.

For those looking for indoor pickleball courts, Denver’s recreation centers offer nearly twenty options for players. The city has made a concerted effort to provide accessible and equitable playing locations. It is important, however, to adhere to the designated hours of play and rules set by the parks and recreation department. Eisenhower Park, for instance, restricts pickleball play to the hours between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. due to noise considerations for nearby neighbors.

While the regulation of pickleball remains a topic of discussion, efforts to accommodate the pickleball community have been recognized and celebrated. Gates Tennis Center, located at the intersection of public and private land in Cherry Creek, has embraced pickleball by expanding its offerings, hiring pro coaches, and providing opportunities for both structured and open play. In fact, Gates Tennis Center was awarded Westword’s 2023 Readers’ Choice Award for the best place to play pickleball in town.

In addition to established pickleball facilities, new venues are also on the horizon for Denver pickleball enthusiasts. “Camp Pickle,” a concept introduced by the well-known eatertainment company Punch Bowl Social, will be opening two locations in metro Denver in the coming years. These locations will feature thirteen indoor pickleball courts and a bar, providing pickleball enthusiasts with more options for play. Similarly, other companies, such as 3rd Shot Pickleball and Chicken N Pickle, have plans to open new locations in Wheat Ridge and Thornton, respectively.

For those outside of Denver proper, Arvada offers an excellent destination for pickleball players. The Apex Pickleball Courts at the Simms Street Recreation Center have been recognized as the best place to play pickleball in the area. With both outdoor and indoor courts available throughout the year, Arvada provides ample opportunities for pickleball enthusiasts to engage in the sport.

As the popularity of pickleball continues to grow, it is crucial for the Denver government and community to find a balance between regulation and accessibility. By considering the concerns of residents and providing adequate facilities for pickleball play, Denver can ensure the ongoing success and enjoyment of this beloved sport for its residents. So, grab a paddle, find a court, and join in the fun of pickleball in Denver!

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