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July 12, 2024

Fremont opens new Pickleball Courts

On Monday, June 3 the City of Fremont introduced the highly anticipated Central Park Knoll Pickleball Courts. Tucked between the Fremont Main Library and Fremont Police Station, and Lake Elizabeth, the Knoll Pickleball Courts are ready for free use to all Pickleball fanatics around the Tri-City area. The new location has eight standard pickleball courts on two elevation levels. The courts include permanent fencing, in- ground nets and posts, benches, a drinking fountain and a beautiful view of Mission Peak and Lake Elizabeth.

Just a week after the ribbon cutting ceremony where Mayor Lily Mei along with several city representatives were in attendance, Paul Stasi and Quang Vuong, were already taking advantage of the new courts, which they advocated for, for years. “We were there since the beginning. We had groups of people going to the city council meetings to voice their opinions about needing pickleball courts,” said Vuong.

Stasi and Vuong are part of the unofficial Fremont pickleball club. “It’s not an official club where there’s a president, take minutes and pay dues. It’s a loosely knit club,” explains Stasi. The club runs primarily from the messaging app WhatsApp. Members reach out to one another when looking for people to play with. “People say ‘anybody going down to play?’ You might say, ‘yeah, I can be there in 20.’ Then all of a sudden you have people to play with that you didn’t know, and the next thing you know you’ll be friends,” described Stasi. Although the club isn’t official, it has over 1,000 members on the ‘Fremont California Pickleball Club’ Facebook page.

With so many Pickleball enthusiasts, Vuong described the struggle of finding locations where players were allowed to play. “At [Fremont Tennis Center], they have 18 tennis courts and on any given day a good chunk of them are vacant. We asked them for two tennis courts to be converted, and for a long time they didn’t.” Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the US with over 200% growth in the last three years. (www.pickleheads.com) The decision to convert tennis courts to pickleball courts, and ultimately build a dedicated pickleball facility in Fremont was “a no brainer” to Vuong.

Although Stasi and Vuong are grateful the three-year process of a new court has come to fruition, they are still hoping for important additions to the facility. Some improvements include bathrooms, gates between the two elevation courts and lights. “These low intensity lights, they’re not for Pickleball,” Vuong points out about the lamp posts that were left from what was once an empty parking lot. “Luckily, during the summer dusk is around 8:30 p.m., but during the winter its 5 o’clock. So, imagine working folks during the weekdays. They have to wait for the weekends to play,” Vuong explained. “And it’ll be hours going to waste for these nice new courts,” added Stasi.

As for bathrooms, the city has placed portable restrooms near the courts. However, some players still choose to walk about four minutes to the nearest building restroom. Regarding the gate problem, Vuong has gotten creative by fashioning a makeshift fence with a small tarp so their game ball doesn’t roll down to the lower-level courts.

After the persistent efforts of local ‘pickleheads,’ the Knoll Pickleball Courts are a great start by the city to keep up with the demand of the fast-growing sport. Vuong shared, “All around the city there are a bunch of tennis courts unused, they would not make any space. But luckily after more than two and a half years they gave us [these courts].”


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