About 3.5 acres of Dallas Water Utilities-owned land in northwest Lake Highlands could become home to six new pickleball courts in the next few years.

The project, which is still in the early planning stages, comes after years of debate about how to use the land at 12000 Greenville Ave. City officials said the new plan could help uplift the Lake Highlands community; attract visitors from outside the city; and boost economic growth at the intersection of Greenville Avenue, Forest Lane and I-635.

“The idea was how do we activate that area? What can we do to bring people in and do something really positive at that place on Greenville [Avenue]?” said City Council member Kathy Stewart, who represents Lake Highlands, at a Nov. 6 community meeting. “Pickleball is just one of those things that seems to be drawing people from all over.”

The overview

The land, which Dallas Water Utilities purchased in 2015, will be partially used to build a new facility for the department, interim Director Sarah Standifer said at the meeting.

For the rest of the land, Dallas Water Utilities is partnering with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department to create a new community facility, which would be free for residents to use. In addition to the six pickleball courts, the project would include an outdoor green space and walking trail, said Crystal Ross, assistant director of the park and recreation department.

Pickleball has seen growing popularity across the U.S. and internationally, according to USA Pickleball, the governing body for pickleball in the U.S. The sport is similar to tennis, with two or four players using rackets or paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net.

Standifer said the pickleball project could serve as an “anchor” for the Greenville Avenue/Forest Lane part of Lake Highlands. If it attracts high clientele, that could in turn attract new development, she added.

Quote of note

“I really like the idea that it could attract people from outside of Lake Highlands,” Stewart said at the meeting. “We need people coming in to eat at our restaurants and spend time in our neighborhood.”

The cost

City officials said they plan to seek money from Dallas’ proposed $1.1 billion bond program to fund the project. Christina Turner-Noteware, assistant director of the park and recreation department, said they’re asking City Council to approve an allocation of $1.3 million.

City Council is expected to be briefed on a draft of the proposed bond Dec. 6. Council members could decide in January whether to approve the bond and send it to voters for either a May or November election.

Although the bond election is months away and the pickleball project is still in the early stages, Stewart said she wants to “move on it.”

“We have an opportunity to do something,” she said. “What I want to make sure is that we do it.”