About 40 pickleballers unite as four McFee courts taken away

About 40 Farragut pickleball players, most wearing black T-shirts with a yellow ribbon, came out in force to Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday night, Nov. 9, to show their support for their sport and to make a plea to re-open some of the recently closed pickleball courts at McFee Park.

During the Citizens Forum segment near the end of the meeting, 10 pickleball players addressed the Board with pleas to allow the courts to be re-opened,

“Well, it seems we’ve got ourselves in a pickle,” Becky Hofseth said.

Several residents lauded the virtues of the game, saying it is one of the fastest growing sports.

“The (Town) parks are one of the most desirable features of the community,” said John Ford, who lives a mile-and-a-half from McFee Park. “It’s probably the favorite of senior citizens and retiring people in the community.”

On the other hand, “I know it can be noisy … with the paddle hitting the ball and also the laughter and friendly banter that goes on,” he added. “Another complaint is that (the noise) is continuous. I have to question this at

McFee Park. In the summer, I would go out there often in the middle of the day … just to check on it, and there would be nobody on the courts.”

“We’re all looking for more court time, not less,” Roger Starett said.

He asked the Board to find a solution to the pickleball court dilemma, as did Tammy McKinney.

“We all love the sport,” McKinney said. “We don’t want to cause an inconvenience to people on the hill.”

When McFee Park was built, “all of a sudden there was a beautiful place to play outside,” Linda Anderson said. “There are only two courts at Farragut Community Center, and there were 35 or 40 of us showing up to play.

“So, we’re just struck by the now-limited conversation and limited community input and really no attempt that we know of to find alternate solutions (of closing the courts),” she added. “The courts are being taken away from us … four of them have been closed. There’s conversation about closing the other four.

“At a time when pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world, we are being told that there will be nowhere for us to play in the Town of Farragut because we don’t have to be provided for. We want to be a part of the solution with the Town of Farragut.

“We thought we were welcomed and encouraged, and now we are questioning whether we are welcome at all.”

Anderson asked that “no further action be taken without a chance for public comment; that if a sound study has not been undertaken, that there should be one commissioned; if there had been one taken, we would like to see the results of it.

“That until further plans can be made, that all courts be returned to use, and that we be involved in discussions of how to help mitigate some of the noise issues that are there,” she added. “We realize some of the residents on the hills above the court are being stressed by the playing. We are very supportive of finding solutions other than us being removed … We want to be part of the solution with the Town of Farragut.”

Nancy Reveiz asked for a response to an e-mail from Alderman David White that stated: “… it is not the responsibility of any municipality to provide every form of recreation that can be thought of. Pickleball is not one of them.”

“It’s not Frisbee golf that we’re talking about,” she countered. “It’s the largest-growing sport in the world right now, and it’s beneficial for our community to have that.”

According to Reveiz, the e-mail stated: “It has totally changed the peace and harmony of residents near McFee Park.”

“We know, where the courts are situated, there’s nothing behind it,” she said. “The only houses being affected are a few houses that back up to the pickleball courts. ...”