Editors:

If pickleball noise is as inoffensive as pickleball players claim, why has Pickleplex installed expensive noise-abatement fencing before the courts are even open?

The adjacent classroom building is in significantly closer proximity to basketball and tennis courts, which do not use noise-abatement fencing.

Contrast that with the city’s treatment of Gilchrist Park, where for years homeowners have asked the city for relief from pickleball noise annoyance. For years, other park users have described their diminished enjoyment of the park. Obviously, FSW deserves the noise abatement and it reflects positively upon the Pickleplex board, which fulfilled an obligation to protect classrooms. What stings is that homeowners and other Gilchrist Park users still struggle for protection.

What might work at FSW is unsuitable for a narrow, scenic waterfront park, where the fencing will funnel noise onto the people on Harborwalk. As explained by Pickleball Central Blog, Nov. 2013: “One challenge with acoustical fencing is maintaining it in windy areas. In some communities the acoustical fencing was blown down by the wind. Another challenge with acoustical fencing is that it is expensive and can be unattractive.”

We need only add that 1) due to the fetch across the harbor Gilchrist Park is especially vulnerable to strong winds, 2) our busy Parks and Grounds Division will need to remove and replace this fencing when necessary, and 3) even new and pristine the fencing is as aesthetically "obnoxious," as the council members admitted when they voted to add it as a "temporary solution" after years of rejection.

Sheila Jaeger

Punta Gorda

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