The board of directors said in a Jan. 3. statement that it had received substantial input on the proposed installation of developer-funded pickleball courts.
“Based on all of the input received, the consensus of the board is not to move forward with this site and no pickleball courts will be built at this location,” it said. “As future potential pickleball sites are studied, the community will be given notice so that resident input may be provided to the CA Board before any action is taken to construct new courts.”
The board added that it apologizes for the unhappiness and stress this has caused the community.
The petition as well as organized sit-ins and protests began after word that hundreds of trees north of the park entrance would be removed to build eight pickleball courts. Sun City currently has 10 other pickleball courts.
Martin Byhower, a Sun City resident and co-chair of the bird special interest group in Sun City, said he caught wind of the developer's—PulteGroup Inc.—plans in late December.
Byhower said one of the main issues he believes many people had was that the residents were not informed about the decision or involved in the process. The decision to build the pickleball courts was quietly moved through Sun City’s board of directors, he said.
“I think what aggravates people a lot is not having the opportunity for public input for the process,” Byhower said.
Byhower said he had nothing against building more courts for recreational use but was concerned about the selected spot, noting that the trees not only provide a noise and visual buffer to Del Webb Boulevard, one of Sun City’s major arteries, but also allow for community groups and organizations—such as his bird watching group—to have a place to go.
He added that a big draw for him and his wife to move to Sun City five years ago was the park and the sanctuary it provides.
“I’m not here to say where the courts should be. I’m not here to say I’m against pickleball,” Byhower said. “[Legacy Park] means everything to me; it’s why I moved here. This park sold me on Sun City as the place to live.”