Pickleball’s soaring popularity means there will be more demand for public places to play the game, and Keller is no exception.

Keller City Council discussed ideas about court access at its June 4 work session.

Council members heard updates about Bear Creek Park open-play rules and free-play availability, as Mayor Armin Mizani said residents have lodged complaints about free-play times. The park has eight pickleball courts.

No decisions were made on court usage at the meeting, as Mizani said the council would have to consider allowing league play at the courts at a future date.

The details

Cody Maberry, city director of community services, told council his department is getting about one Special Event Review Team permit request per quarter from groups and associations to reserve the courts for a few hours. He added that groups are asking for reservations on weekends and sometimes Friday nights.

People file for a special event permit when they have a special event that requires city review and approval, said Rachel Reynolds, city communication and public engagement manager.

“From a [parks and recreation] standpoint, we were treating [the courts] just like our basketball courts or our volleyball courts—it’s first come, first served,” Maberry said. “The users were saying, 'Well, this is a little different animal. There’s different levels of play, and there’s only so many courts [to] ... accommodate so many people.' So they wanted to come up with some kind of system that someone couldn’t hog the court all day and play.”

A closer look

Debbie Bryan, vice president of pickleball with Northeast Tarrant Tennis and Pickleball, said that all other cities in the area are allowing league play for courts, with Keller the exception. She said those leagues are being charged for using the courts. Her organization is using the courts, three at a time, and advised on how the city of Keller could create its league program.

With league play, Maberry said enforcement of rules would be a challenge if rules are a recommendation rather than set forth in an ordinance.

What they’re saying

Council Member Tag Green was open to allowing league play happening at the courts, but didn’t want to see league play overrunning the courts. “Reasonable limitations” should be found on the number of league games in a week or month, he said.

“The minute that tournaments or league play start to significantly limit the availability for public use, then I think we have to take another look at it,” he said.