Neighborhoods: Five Points, Kenilworth, Malvern Hills, Montford, Norwood Park, Oakley, Spears-Henrietta

Happening Now

For those unfamiliar with some of the terms used, we’ve provided a glossary at the bottom of the page. 

Pickleball and tennis are currently experiencing significant participation increases in Asheville and have ardent supporters advocating for their respective sport. In order to support both racquet sports, all public outdoor hard surface tennis courts in the Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) system will become dual-lined shared use courts supporting tennis and pickleball. This short-term solution immediately increases the City of Asheville’s outdoor public pickleball courts from 12 to 22 while retaining all 11 outdoor public hard surface tennis courts.

Court conversion is anticipated to begin in early 2023 and take 4-6 weeks. Following this update, APR will institute an alternating shared use schedule with dedicated times for each sport. With this schedule, if courts are not being used, anyone can play either pickleball or tennis. If players of both sports would like to play at the same time and there is not enough court space for the players of both sports, the sport with priority time is permitted to play and the other players should relinquish the court(s). Time limits for all users are 1 hour for singles, 1.5 hours for doubles, and 2 hours for groups of 6-12. If no one is waiting, players may continue to play until others arrive.

 


Where to Play

Illustration of dual-lined shared use court lined for pickleball and tennis
Dual-lined shared use court for pickleball and tennis

Public courts are located in Kenilworth, Malvern Hills, Montford, Murphy-Oakley, and Weaver parks. All have lights for evening play except for Kenilworth, owing to its residential location.  (Weaver Park’s lights are currently under repair.) 

Permanent tennis nets are installed on all courts, but picklers must bring their own portable nets at this time. APR is developing a pickleball net loaner program expected to roll out in early 2023, as well as installation of high-quality, semi-permanent rollaway nets.

Linwood Crump Shiloh and Stephens-Lee community centers also offer indoor pickleball courts with nets for year-round play at a rate of $3 for a single visit, $10 for a 10 visit pass, and $20 for a 25 visit pass.

 


Background

For those unfamiliar with some of the terms used, we’ve provided a glossary at the bottom of the page. 

According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s most recent State of the Industry report, pickleball has grown nationally by 39.3% (or 1.36 million additional players) since 2019. During that same time, tennis has seen a national increase of 27.9% (or 4.9 million additional players, owing to its larger starting base). Asheville’s trends seem to be in line with national increases as many community members discovered or rediscovered these sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. With all of its public courts resurfaced over the past four years, APR maintains some of the best free community courts in the area.

Over the course of about 20 years beginning in the late-1990s, nine tennis courts were replaced with other amenities at Choctaw, Livingston, and West Asheville parks and Linwood Crump Shiloh and Tempie Avery Montford community centers following periods of slowing use. During that time, Aston Park Tennis Center did experience significant investments and is regularly cited as one of the finest publicly-owned clay surface tennis facilities in the nation with low-cost community access to 12 lighted tennis courts. APR manages an additional 11 public outdoor hard surface courts.

two young boys playing tennis

APR added indoor pickleball courts in gyms at two community centers in 2012 and 2014 with outdoor public courts at Kenilworth Park becoming dual-lined in 2016. Currently, APR manages 12 public outdoor and six public indoor pickleball courts. A design sketch for eight pickleball courts at Recreation Park was previously unveiled at a public meeting in 2020. That project is still in the conceptual stage and no additional funding has been allocated.

As both tennis and pickleball continue to experience exceptional growth in popularity, many local players have contacted APR with ideas to balance and expand shared court usage to support both racquet sports. While an ideal long-term solution is development and/or expansion of sport-specific public sites, an upcoming master planning process will help identify opportunities, prioritize parks and recreation needs in the city, and act as a tool to secure funding for identified projects. 

As a department focused on community-level recreation, APR is dedicated to supporting both racquet sports with long- and short-term solutions. Following meetings to update court etiquette and usage rules, representatives from Asheville Tennis Association (ATA) and Asheville Pickleball Association (APA) shared their players’ considerations at meetings with APR on September 14, October 19, and November 9. Comments have also been collected from additional community advocates of both sports.

On October 25, the ATA board of directors approved a recommendation to add pickleball lines to all of APR’s public hard tennis courts and create an equitable structured play schedule, as well as a request for the City to pursue pickleball-only courts at Recreation Park.

Following the meeting with representatives from ATA and the APA organizing committee on November 9, APR announced that all public courts will be dual-lined for pickleball and tennis.

 


Community Engagement

2018

  • February 2: Community meeting at Stephens-Lee Community Center to discuss local pickleball players’ considerations

2019

  • March 20: Focus group meeting
  • September 19: Focus group meeting

2020

  • February 10: Community meeting at Stephens-Lee Community Center to discuss building dedicated pickleball courts at Recreation Park

2022

  • June 1: APR staff attend meeting of Asheville Pickleball Association (APA)
  • August 12: APR staff, Asheville-Buncombe Regional Sports Commission members, and Asheville Tennis Association (ATA) executive board members attend meeting of APA to discuss ways each group can support the others
  • September 14: Meeting with representatives from ATA and APA
  • October 19: Meeting with representatives from ATA and APA
  • November 9: Meeting with representatives from ATA and APA

 


Timeline

Early 1900s

  • The City of Asheville opens three clay tennis courts for public use on the site that will become Aston Park.

1928

  • The Asheville Open, the longest consistently-run sanctioned tennis tournament in North Carolina, is held at Aston Park for the first time.

1984

  • Buncombe County assumes management of Aston Park Tennis Center as part of an interlocal agreement that created Asheville/Buncombe Water Authority. At this time, APR manages public outdoor tennis courts in Choctaw, Kenilworth, Livingston, Malvern Hills, Montford, Murphy-Oakley, Shiloh, Weaver, and West Asheville parks and Montford Recreation Complex.

2005

  • Asheville/Buncombe Water Authority dissolves and the City of Asheville again assumes management of Aston Park Tennis Center.

2012

  • Stephens-Lee Community Center adds pickleball lines to its multi use gym

2014

  • Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center adds pickleball lines to its multi use gym

2016

  • Asheville’s first public shared use courts open when Kenilworth Park’s tennis courts are dual-lined during resurfacing.

2019

 


Supporting Documents

 


Glossary of Terms

  • Pickleball is a sport in which individuals or teams of players hit a perforated polymer ball over a 36-inch high net using solid-faced rackets, commonly referred to as paddles. Though the appearance of a pickleball court and manner of play resemble tennis, the court is the size of a doubles badminton court, less than a third the size of a tennis court.
  • Tennis is a sport in which individuals or teams of players hit a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a 42-inch high net using cord-strung tennis racquets.
  • Dual lines, also known as shared lines or blended stripes, refer to courts that have dimensions marked for both pickleball and tennis courts. APR’s dual-lined courts have tennis boundaries marked in white and pickleball boundaries in light blue.
  • Shared use courts are those dual-lined for both pickleball and tennis play.
  • Public courts are available at low- or no-cost, open to the public, and managed for recreation by the City of Asheville.
  • Clay surface courts are made of crushed stone, brick, shale, or other unbound mineral aggregate. Aston Park Tennis Center includes 12 low-cost public clay tennis courts that are open annually from April 1-November 30.
  • Hard surface courts are made of asphalt or concrete and covered with acrylic resins to seal the surface and mark playing lines while providing some cushioning.

 


Contact Information

Wayne Simmons, Parks & Recreation, 828-259-5809

 


 

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