GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – The fight over pickle ball courts in Grass Valley continued at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. After continued pushback from local veterans, the city council went back to the drawing board to find an alternative solution.
“All of a sudden we heard about this and you almost started a war,” said Frank Stanovich, a Grass Valley Marine Corps Veteran.
According to the city, pickleball – a racket sport that resembles badminton and tennis – is growing in popularity. Plans to build new courts at Memorial Park were approved by the council back in October.
But local veterans were furious that the plans included removing a WWI memorial tree and plaque.
“I understand they would like more space but don’t understand why it cannot be in another area,” said Judy Hoil.
On Tuesday, Senior Civil Engineer Bjorn Jones presented new alternatives to the crowd.
“It’s not a process that happens in one week,” said Howard Levine, mayor of Grass Valley.
The first alternative plan would reduce the number of pickleball courts from four to three. The second would relocate the four courts to another part of the park and away from the memorials.
And the third would be to cancel the project all together.
But the city attorney says if they choose the third option, the city could lose out on nearly $185,000.
“Think of a fourth option and think of contacting the Nevada Joint Union School District and using one of their lower fields,” said Kodi Hoil, a 15-year-old Boy Scout.
Another suggested using newly acquired city land and building the pickleball courts there.
But in addition to the new courts, the city also wants to expand and enclose the pool at Memorial Park, build a 6,000 square foot recreation center, add an all-weather soccer field and a splash pad for children.
“It just adds to more and more tension to have that much activity,” said Elise Hougesan, who lives on Oak Street.
She’s been in the community for 30 years and told CBS13 bringing in the courts would destroy her quiet neighborhood.
“I guess what I want to say is you can’t have your pickle and eat it too!” Hougesan said.
In the end, the council voted to negotiate with the contractor to see if the second option is a possibility. The city agreed to leave the tree alone, for now, and the city manager apologized to the group for the confusion surrounding the entire issue.