Stern Grove, then Larsen Playground  – The Adopted Recommendation

UPDATE: Feb 20,2023

Design details are being worked out for the Larsen Playground site and the target opening for an 8-court venue is this September (fingers crossed).

btw- Stern Grove has had tree replanting setbacks, so  tennis court re-construction will not occur before end of year.  Which means the “transition” scenario from Stern Grove courts (see below) will NOT occur.  Pickleball will actually open at the new permanent venue at Larsen BEFORE Stern Grove goes back on-line.  How about that?  Interesting twist.

DATELINE: Jan 20, 2023

On January 19, the SF Rec & Park Commission adopted what was termed the “hybrid” proposal which includes opening dedicated Pickleball courts at Stern Grove for a period of time, and then moving our Pickleball community to NEW, permanent-net courts to be built out at the nearby Larsen Playground at 19th Ave & Vicente.  The vote was unanimous based on prior acceptance by the SF Pickleball Community leadership team and the Tennis Coalition for this compromise “hybrid proposal” that increases the number of dedicated courts in San Francisco, while reducing the citywide tennis court count by only the one at Larsen.

To see the recommendation document or video of the Commission meeting, you can click this link:

To summarize:

  • STEP 1 – Six (6) dedicated Pickleball courts with PB-only lines and rolling nets will open at Stern Grove this summer. Pickleball play every day, all day. There will no longer be dedicated PB hours at Parkside once SG opens.
  • STEP 2 – Larsen playground’s one tennis court and basketball court will be replaced by eight (8) permanent-net Pickleball courts as early as winter. Once the site is complete, Pickleball will migrate from Stern Grove to Larsen and begin play.  Even more Pickleball play every day, all day.  Stern Grove will then get dual-painted with tennis lines, after which Parkside and Stern Grove will continue to be available for reservations and walk-on play.

We understand that the Community heavily favored a solution to build 8 Pickleball courts at Stern Grove when over 200 of us gathered at the Community Meeting in November.  For several reasons, the 8-court Stern Grove proposal met strong resistance from the Tennis Coalition and Rec & Park staffers, so an unfavorable vote by the Commission or endless debates about sport court re-purposing were probable.  Rather than gridlock, we worked with Rec & Park on this hybrid proposal, which embeds all the essential elements of our original ask – DEDICATED COURTS at the EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE.

This proposal is progress and a win for the Pickleball community.  We are upgrading the pre-flood 6 dual-lined, limited hour, portable net set-up at Stern Grove with Larsen’s 8 dedicated all-day-play permanent-net courts.

This will bring the Citywide total to 19 permanent Pickleball courts at 3 locations.  Is this enough?  No, but with this agreement we are also changing the narrative with Rec & Park to look at underutilized public spaces for future Pickleball sites; spaces such as the Kezar Stadium Parking Lot.  There is genuine acknowledgment of the urgency by RPD for more court space now.  The goal is to find options that maintain legacy sport venues while developing locations to meet our rapid growth needs.  Stay tuned.

And hey, if anybody wants to offer up a few million to kickstart this effort, we can get SF Rec & Park to grant you naming rights to a future Pickleball Complex.  Drop us a line!

Finally, the team wants to thank everyone for all the support we got for managing to get a favorable Commission vote.  Keep on dinking!

SF Pickleball Community Leadership Team