Pickleball is a divisive issue in a Punta Gorda neighborhood

Every day, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., neighbors go to a Punta Gorda pickleball court for some friendly competition.

But the pings and pongs have neighbors who live along the Gilchrist Park upset.

They said the noise mixed with the traffic on the street is too loud.

“The sport itself is good,” Tony Gabarda said, “but the location is what is the problem.”

And now, the Punta Gorda Historic Homeowners Association is asking for a solution. Wednesday at 9 a.m., the City Council will discuss adding shrubs, an acoustic wall or even moving the court.

But many pickleball players said the courts are essential to the community and moving it would defeat the purpose of the park.

“Why would they want to move the courts just because somebody complains?” Willie Blocker said, a pickleball player. “Who knew they were living across the tennis courts to start with.”

Gabarda said his friend lives right across the street from the court and had health issues due to stress from the noise.

“My friend had a stroke because of the noise pollution,” Dr. Gabarda said. “It increases your blood pressure, increases your stress level it triggers stress.”

Overall, both sides hope to find a compromise.

“I wish most people would come out and meet the people that play pickleball,” Riccardo Deller said. “It’s not just the game in itself or the noise. Even the kids’ playground you can hear them playing and laughing — take time to admire why their laughing or the fun their having.”

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
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