Pickleball courts at Claybell Park

About 20 Claybell Park neighbors told five Richland City staff Monday night that they dread the next pickleball tournament because of the traffic that comes with it. It was the second time staff members had met with the group at the park and this time they came with some possible solutions.

The Columbia Basin Classic pickleball tournament, planned for Oct. 1 and 2, already has over 200 players signed up. At the same time, a soccer league has matches on the nearby sport fields.

Neighbor Peggy Roberts told the Observer before the meeting, “I’m hoping something can be done to make it safer.”

Roberts was concerned about speeders on Broadmoor Street and children, who may not be visible to motorists, trying to cross to the park from between parked cars.

At a June 27 meeting neighbors complained that rather than using the parking lot at Claybell, the pickleball players parked on the street near the six courts.

Deputy City Manager Joe Schiessl brought a letter from the city to Monday’s meeting that proposed creating two speed bumps on Broadmoor Street, one on each end of the park. The area will be designated a “park zone”, which would reduce the speed limit to 20 mph.

Richland Public Works Director Pete Rogalsky then explained that by the time the speed bumps were authorized and scheduled and the usual winter down time had passed, they wouldn’t be installed until spring.

The speed bumps are an exception that the Richland City Council had to approve because the conditions on Broadmoor at the park don’t satisfy the city’s requirements for them, Rogalsky noted.

Other issues were raised as well. Nearby neighbor Rebecca Rawson asked that the porta-potties be chained to the fence to keep them from being tipped over.

“We rely on you to call,” Richland Police Chief Brigit Clary said in response. The chief suggested that residents call 911 and ask to be switched to non-emergency to report vandalism, reckless driving, speeding.

Clary told the group that even if police don’t arrive in time to catch the perpetrators, the department analyzes the calls every two weeks and concentrates patrols in troubled areas.

In a telephone interview with the Observer, Club 509 Pickleball Membership Director Rita Magnaghi reported that construction of 12 new courts at the Lawrence Scott Park pickleball complex in Kennewick was progressing, and she expected them to be completed by spring. Magnaghi said she thought completion of that large facility would take the pressure off the Claybell courts.

Schiessl also said that the city would look at lighting and scheduling for park use.

“I think there are some opportunities,” Schiessl responded to a neighbor who asked about temporary signs.

Rogalsky, Clary, Schiesll,Transportation and Development Manager Carlo D’Alessandro, and Recreation Director Julie Jackson chatted with residents after the meeting concluded.

When Schiessl asked, “I want feedback on the neighborhood meetings,” almost everyone responded positively. Schiessl indicated that there could be more in other Richland neighborhoods.