April 14, 2023
Tribute to Randy Limbird
Before I dive deeply into the business of the day, I invite you to view the tribute to our friend Randy Limbird. It is posted on the front page of our website, click here. I will move it to a blog on April 22.
Indoor Gym Hour Changes
Albert Carrillo has been asking east side players what gyms they would like to see hour expansions at, and Lali Chavez has been checking on traffic at del Palacio. A proposal for Valle Bajo is in the works but not finalized. Thank you for your help!
With regard to Veteran's Rec Center (NE), they are required to hold Summer Kid Camps from 9:00 - 2:00, and Club Rec for a different set of kids in the afternoon. This is going to squeeze ALL adult sports. Bonita (Supervisor) has given us, effective immediately, two courts, Wednesday nights from 6:00 - 7:45 PM at Veteran's, and this will continue through the kid activities that run June - mid July.
And our beloved Galatzan, which provides us with the most hours of any gym, has given us even more time, according to Dina Chen. I will get confirmation tomorrow and update our Where To Play tab.
Way to go TEAM!
This is what I said in the last edition: "Having a large, visual presence in the audience is impactful, so come and be seen."
You could say that!
This turnout got us four results (see below). The PEPA Board is deeply grateful to the 36 members who showed up at City Council on Tuesday, April 11. The meeting was running over an hour late, but we stayed, and boy did it make an impression! We had five speakers: Ruben Pena, Terry Avalos, Enrique Gonzalez, Stephanie Blackburn, and myself. When we finished Dionne Mack, Deputy City Manager, asked to speak to me outside. She and I went to the foyer, but we were not alone ... A LOT of people exited to talk about pickleball: our party of 36, and from the dais Representative Annello (lower Northeast Rep), plus Mayor Leeser with his Assistant.
This one event produced FOUR outcomes for our community.
Outcome #1: Ms. Mack arranged a meeting between me and the top three officials at Parks and Rec. They postponed and I am waiting for a reschedule. Topic: gyms hours and those empty courts.
Outcome #2: There was a "Small Things" campaign in which the City was doing low budget projects that would improve El Paso's image. I called about the bird poop at Chamizal, and Ms. Mack just told me on Tuesday that they had purchased a bird deterrent system - YAY! Our "poor Event Coordinator" Sandy will have to find something to do with her time rather than call Streets Maintenance to ask to have Chamizal outdoor cleaned. It was too hectic after the Call to the Public to get details of what type of system and when it would be installed. Hey Terry Avalos! Maybe no more rolling your wheelchair through poop!
Go Ben Go! Save Sunrise!!
When the multi-use lines at del Palacio were painted going into the tennis net in January 2022, everybody screamed, "Don't do that! The tennis net is 4 inches too high, and you are
just ruining the court." Hawk Scott (Parks and Rec) said he would not, and Lomaland, Marty Robbins and Paul Harvey were painted with two PB's away from the tennis net. YAY!
Then Hawk left El Paso.
On Christmas night I discovered that the Mission Hills Park tennis court, was butchered. Most unfortunately, the USA PB Official Guide on how to paint courts has this option in there.
I talked about this to the Parks and Rec Board at their Call to the Public in March. Unfortunately, they signed a contract to paint many more courts this way, forcing the use of a net that is four inches too high. Recently, they did it again at Milagro in northeast.
Our VP and Pickleball Ambassador Ben Avalos met with Parks and Rec officials on Friday, April 14. We believe they will stop this practice, although we have not been given details as to how they will adapt that contract.
Sunrise Park is probably on their list to resurface. We hope they will keep the line pattern that it has now.
Outcome #4: KVIA Coverage
KVIA contacted the club to do a story on what all that Call to the Public stuff was about. They shot video at Haskins and did interviews - thank you Keith Derry - well put. I recorded it off of my TV and that is posted on our Official Pickleball El Paso facebook page, Here is an abbreviated story on their website.
According to Sam Harasimowicz of KVIA, the City said those empty courts at Chamizal that are scheduled for "volleyball" 9 - 12 MWF, that are always empty, ... are rented ... ?? Who would rent courts when they cannot use them?
During Spring Break, I watched two clubs practice. One was high school kids getting ready for a tournament in Las Vegas. I heard staff inform one parent that those courts were available to the club MWF 9:00 - 12:00, and the parent responded ... "But my child is in school" ...
Did Chamizal management just throw in MWF 9 - 12 as part of the rental "for free", so that they would not have to serve the public? I will continue searching for answers.
So for those of you who went Tuesday, April 11, it was a good day's work!
Don't forget to join our OFFICIAL Association Facebook Page!
President, Pickleball El Paso