Rec & Park’s Recommendation Doc for Stern Grove

Dateline: January 16, 2023


SF Rec & Park Department staff have completed their recommendation document for Stern Grove and the four alternatives that were discussed at the November Community Meeting at the County Fair Building.  The document’s title, “Pickleball – Stern Grove and Larsen Playground”, gives you a hint about the content.

Briefly, they are recommending a two-step “build and move” solution that would:

  • Rebuild the Stern Grove courts as they were previously, as 6 dual-lined Pickleball courts; completion estimate: Summer 2023
  • Convert Larsen Playground’s one tennis court and one basketball court into eight dedicated pickleball courts; completion estimate: Winter 2023/4
  • During the construction process at Larsen Playground, the Stern Grove courts will be exclusively for Pickleball, using portable rolling nets with all hours dedicated to pickleball play.
  • After the completion of Larsen Playground’s dedicated pickleball court project, the portable nets and dedicated pickleball status will be removed from Stern Grove.

So, six Pickleball courts at Stern Grove starting this summer, then a move to Larsen with 8 new permanent courts beginning early next year (2024).  Stern Grove and Parkside will then lose all dedicated pickleball play hours, but will remain dual-lined and available for court reservations on Spotery, although you will need to bring your own net.

This is the link to the entire staff report:—Staff-Report-011923

Where we stand on this proposal

Your SF Pickleball Community Leadership Team thinks RPD’s hybrid proposal is a reasonable compromise with the Tennis Community.  Both groups get a lot of what they want, and the two-step process makes sure that Pickleball access will remain available should the Larsen rebuild encounter unexpected budget or construction problems.  We are also asking that the proposal be specific about the interim courts at Stern Grove being lined only for Pickleball until the “move” to Larsen.

Everything we wanted?  No, but that’s what compromises are all about.

We do regret that neighborhood basketball will be displaced, although there are 2 alternate basketball sites 0.4 miles away per the report.  The RPD capital budget impact is estimated to be up to $300,000 to reconfigure Larsen.

Bottom line: The SF Pickleball Leadership Team is in favor of backing this proposal.

One additional point:  RPD wants to pivot away from any future neighborhood tennis court conversions, and begin “identifying under-utilized public space that can support future dedicated pickleball complexes within the City”.  The short list currently includes Kezar Stadium parking lot (end of Haight St.) and courts at City College.  Essentially, this “pause” means no more tennis court conversions until RPD’s Capital & Planning unit produces a recommendation.

What’s your opinion?

We value the voice of the Community, so please feel free to use the following link to a Google form to leave us a message.  Your opinion and/or questions will help us formulate comments for the Rec & Park Commission meeting held this Thursday, January 19 at City Hall.


The Commission meets this Thursday, January 19 to hear and discuss this RPD Staff proposal.  They will take public comment if you desire to attend.  Potentially a decision/vote could be made, or deferred to the next Commission meeting on February 16 if there are substantial objections and more analysis/debate is required.

Please click the link above to voice your opinion on the proposal – it will help inform how we respond as a player community.

We want to thank our Community for their turnout and support during the November meeting.  We are being heard now by RPD and the Commission, which would not have happened without your participation and message writing during this process.  We look forward to discussing and previewing more facility planning opportunities with you in the future.

SF Pickleball Leadership Team