The Main Stream

Nov 27, 2012 1:05 AM by Tom McNamara

"Pickleball" continues to cause controversy in Saddlebrooke

SADDLEBROOKE - Pickleball is driving folks crazy in one community.

The game is played like tennis, only with a wooden paddle and a wiffle-like ball. Like ping-pong on steroids.

The nice fall weather has players flocking back to the pickleball courts in Saddlebrooke, north of Tucson.

But those living closest to the courts, about a football field and a half away, say the racket from the pickleball paddles is destroying their peace and quiet.

Jack Bowers has lived in his home for ten years. For the first nine years, he didn't have to deal with the noise, until the courts were built almost a year ago. He said they're a nuisance.

Bowers told us, "well what we do is we disguise it with our water feature, run it. It masks some of the noise, but unfortunately, it becomes a, something, you're listening for it. You don't want to, but you're listening for it."

A neighbor of Bowers said the noise from pickleball has him constantly on the run. Jim Blanchard said, "you like to sit outside because it's so beautiful and then we had to go inside cause it was going full blast over there and it's hard to carry on a conversation with this constant 'pick-pick-pick' all the time."

Yet, the president of the Pickleball Association at Saddlebrooke, Larry Santora, said he hadn't heard any complaints about the noise in months.

He said, "We don't have a controversy any more. We built these courts far enough away for the individuals up on the hill that when you go up there, you really don't hear the noise anymore."

Which leaves Jack Bowers in a pickle, and most likely out of legal options to fight pickleball.

He said even the health department doesn't consider the noise from pickleball to be a hazard.

"And while I would love to see pickleball thrive in this community, I'd rather not have it in my backyard."

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