Grass Valley to discuss pickleball courts project in wake of backlash from vets | TheUnion.com

Grass Valley to discuss pickleball courts project in wake of backlash from vets

The Grass Valley City Council will discuss a previously-approved pickleball court construction project Tuesday that has received backlash from many local veterans.

Vets say they are angry the city didn't seek their input on a project that calls for the removal of two trees, one of which contains a plaque dedicated to a veteran, in the city's Memorial Park.

Council members are expected to provide direction to the city's engineering division on whether to proceed with the project utilizing a revised layout or cancel the $185,000 construction contract with Nor-Cal Construction, according to a staff report.

The courts were slated for construction this fall and were expected to be open for use in spring.

At a meeting of the Nevada County Consolidated Veterans Council earlier this month, City Manager Tim Kiser said building the pickleball courts would help address crime and drug issues in Memorial Park by encouraging a new crowd to utilize a section of the park he said is especially problematic.

Representatives from the Grass Valley Pickleball Club, a group which has nearly 100 members, have requested the city provide a permanent place for them to play the tennis-like sport they say is quickly growing in popularity. Kiser said the city was hoping to address the pickleball group's request while simultaneously responding to numerous complaints about the prevalence of crime in Memorial Park. He also said an arborist examined the American Elm containing a veteran's memorial plaque, which is inside the project area, and told the city the tree was unhealthy and needed to soon be removed.

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But veterans at the Consolidated Veterans Council meeting told Kiser the proposed project is disrespectful to those who have served in the armed forces because it would require removal of the long-standing memorial plaque and would take up space that could be used for future memorials.

Kiser and Mayor Howard Levine said the city wouldn't take any further action on the project until a resolution could be reached between the city and its veterans.

Kiser said the city had reached out to veterans groups prior to city council's approval of the project, but had apparently not spread the word to everyone.

Tuesday's City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 125 East Main Street, Grass Valley, following a special meeting that is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

The special meeting includes a pinning ceremony for two police officers and a presentation commending Grass Valley and Nevada City Fire Department personnel for superior efforts. A life saving award will also be presented to Grass Valley Police Department employees.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.