City unveils plans to expand pickleball courts in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – City officials unveiled plans for a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art pickleball campus. 

KOB 4 went out to learn what all the racket is about.

“It’s good exercise, how’s that? Let’s put it that way,” said Chris Hood. 

Chris hood has played tennis most of his life, but the buzz around the courts is not for tennis – pickleball is taking over.

“This is such a wonderful sport,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “These are no longer just sort of dreams, pie in the sky. We’re excited to get down to business.”

With popularity come problems. 

“I’ve heard in other cities, the NY Times actually wrote an article on this like six months ago – that it’s hugely contentious in New York City, and Chicago, places like that. Because pickleball is exploding and taking more courts – tennis people don’t like it. I’ve got tennis buddies that absolutely hate it,” Hood said. 

And the noise?

“I actually read the article on that,” said Hood. 

Denver is ripping some pickleball courts out because of noise complaints. 

“Wouldn’t bother me. I think we got a lot of uptight people in the world sometimes, you know what I’m saying?” said Hood. 

Hood says as a tennis player he would know.

“Tennis people can be a little snobby,” he said. “Pickleballers are like ‘yeah, jump in we’ll show you how to do it.’”

He has no problem sharing space, and giving more access and opportunity for people to get out and move.

“My wife would not play tennis, I guarantee if I told her let’s go hit the pickleball she would do it,” said Hood. 

The big pickleball expansion is set for Manzano Mesa Park near the Four Hills area. The plans include 15 new pickleball courts, a championship court, lights and shade structures. The other big one is near Ventana Ranch Park – eight more courts coming there.

City reps say all-in-all they are adding 48 new courts to try and become the pickleball capital of the southwest.

But how much is this going to cost?

Manzano Mesa Park is going to cost $3.5 million, there’s a mixture of state and city money for that one. Ventana Ranch will be another $1.5 million.

The city was touting a pro pickleball tournament coming in this June. They expect 300–400 players, including four professionals and the tourney will have cash prizes.