On the verge of moving forward with a tennis court and playground for Torrey Pines Park, the Chino Hills City Council changed directions Tuesday to ask that pickleball courts be considered instead of a tennis court.
The fast-growing game combines badminton, tennis, and ping pong and is played with paddles and a lightweight ball over a net.
The matter will be sent back to the Chino Hills Parks and Recreation Commission for a community workshop that will begin prior to the 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Residents in the neighborhood surrounding Torrey Pines Park will be notified and encouraged to attend to provide input.
Councilman Ray Marquez said one tennis court with two players wouldn’t ensure that vandalism would be kept at bay, the primary reason amenities are being added.
Torrey Pines Park located south of Los Serranos Country Club Drive, west of Albertsons, is the most vandalized park in the city because of its seclusion, said city officials.
Mr. Marquez said the “beautiful Vellano Park” with a basketball court and one tennis court is not being used while the tennis courts at Hope for the Hills Park, Grand Avenue, and Crossroads Park are well-used because they have between two to four courts each.
Mr. Marquez noted that four pickleball courts fit onto one tennis court and would attract more people at a time than tennis could.
Councilman Art Bennett said lighting could be considered at a future time but should not shine on the surrounding neighborhood. He suggested a “pay as you play” type of lighting.
Councilman Brian Johsz said, “If we’re going to install lights next to homes, we need to make sure there is no light pollution.”
Greg Higgins, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, said the city has had a lot of conversation about pickleball but the question has always been: how big is the demand?
He said a fair percentage of pickleball players at Grand Avenue Park are non-residents.
“From the commission’s perspective, it’s worth continuing the dialogue to see if there is a demonstrable desire on the part of the community for pickleball,” Mr. Higgins said.