County in a Pickle over Noisy Pickleball

Nearby courts will be converted to appease the pickleball players.

When the hard, plastic ball hits the solid wood or plastic paddle in pickleball, it is noisier than tennis. So noisy that the residents around the pickleball courts at Kendale Woods Park in Annandale complained and now those particular courts will be closing, but the Fairfax County Park Authority is finding new courts a little farther away to keep everyone happy.

This park is wedged in this suburban neighborhood so tightly, the players also took some of the available parking spots to magnify the inconvenience for the surrounding residents, setting up a situation that could have boiled over, had officials not stepped in.

“It was far too close, not an ideal spot for the pickleball court,” said FCPA spokesperson Ben Boxer. To remedy the situation and keep everyone happy, the park officials are making some more pickleball courts over at Mason District Park.

Starting on Monday, June 3, the FCPA will soon begin work to revert the existing racquet courts at Kendale Woods Park to tennis-only courts. Work is expected to be completed on Monday, June 17, weather permitting, the county said.

The move comes in response to concerns raised by the surrounding community pertaining to noise and as the site does not meet the court guidelines established with national best practices identified in the Fairfax County Pickleball Study Report from December 2021.

There were comments on social media supporting both sides of the issue.

"Good, pickleball is just a fad. Tennis is timeless and should stay," said one. 

Others chimed in that the tennis courts won't be used. "And where are you putting Pickleball only courts? Don’t you read the news? Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Swimming Pools and playgrounds produce much more annoying noise. The courts will be empty, what a waste of our tax dollars!" said another. 

Another social media comment said there were only five houses close to the courts.

Pickleball Study

The Fairfax County website has the pickleball summary, plus a link to the official pickleball study from December 2021. “This report on the Park Authority’s Pickleball Study presents findings and recommendations on how to  strategically respond to increasing demand for the sport,” the opening sentence to the 101-page study reads, and goes on to say that the county approach to providing pickleball facilities is comparable to similar jurisdictions. “Current shared-use courts can satisfy most players with relatively minor improvements, yet opportunities exist to leverage the growing interest in the sport,” it said.