Punta Gorda community frustrated over crowded, noisy pickleball courts


Punta Gorda City Council held a meeting to discuss possible solutions to end the pickleball noises at a popular Punta Gorda complex Wednesday.

In Gilchrist Park, pickleball is a growing sport.

It’s growing so fast that the courts are often packed with players, and it’s putting neighbors who live near the courts in a pickle of their own.

MORE: Pickleball is a divisive issue in a Punta Gorda neighborhood

“I really think it’s unfortunate that there is all this debate over pickleball,” said pickleball player Rick Sarkisian. “It seems to be a very emotional issue.”

Neighbors say the noise and crowds are just too much for them.

“Those of us in the immediate vicinity of the park and those of us that are concerned about other park users who do not play pickleball,” said resident Sheila Jaeger.

And both sides showed up for the Punta Gorda City Council meeting.

“Pickleplex is going to help. There will be a lot of players that will go to Pickleplex because it’s going to be such a fine facility, but we still want to be able to use Gilchrist Park and enjoy the harbor view,” Sarkisian said.

Once Pickleplex opens on the Florida Southwestern University’s campus, the council will discuss cutting the numbers of courts at Gilchrist Park from eight to four, and reducing the hours.

“We need to be able to temporary the amount of play in Gilchrist Park in some way, with the sound and some forth,” said Punta Gorda Councilman Gary Wein. “Or, find another location and let them paddle away.”

Neighbors say parking is another issue. With so many people coming to the park, neighbors say there’s not enough room.

Pickleplex is scheduled to open next month.

MORE: Pickleball trending in SWFL, becoming fastest growing sport in nation

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