Oakland residents want more pickleball courts

For now, they will have to settle for a systematic set of rules to level the “waiting” field.

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The new pickleball courts in Oakland are a popular place, and residents are having to compete for playing time. At the Nov. 9 Town Commission meeting, several residents spoke on behalf of the sport and the need for more courts — or at least some lights so players can spend more time on the courts.

One resident even offered to help raise money to add more courts.

Mayor Kathy Stark said the commission understands the need for more pickleball courts and will bring back the discussion in the new year. Town Manager Steve Koontz suggested holding a workshop in the spring.

The pickleball courts were added in Speer Park in April and have been in operation from sunrise to sunset without official rules. The commission modified and approved the city of Winter Garden’s set of rules for open play “that allows for fair and equitable participation during times of heavy use.”

The established rules for players are as follows: No singles, private group play, practice or instruction when people are waiting. The paddle queue system is in effect. When the game is completed, winners remain on the court and split. The other two players place their paddles at the end of the queue. The two paddles at the front of the queue enter the game. Games are played to 11 and are won by 2.



Will Hawthorne, director of engineering with Central Florida Expressway Authority, gave a presentation on CFX’s 2045 master plan, which is a transportation wish list and a needs-based plan, he said.

“The master plan sets the course of our future for the next 25 years,” Hawthorne said.

The 2040 plan identified $11 billion in project needs across four counties, including construction of the State Road 408/State Road 417 interchange, as well as the one at State Road 528 and State Road 436. Major initiatives included the addition of 16 miles to the system and the plan for added capacity to S.R. 417 and State Road 429.

CFX invites residents to take part in a survey on its website, cfxway.com, before Dec. 31. It is seeking input on various plan elements, such as existing expressway system needs, planning for future technologies, potential expansion projects, sustainability practices and multimodal opportunities.



• The commission approved staff to apply for an African American Cultural and Historical Grant from the state of Florida for the roughly $35,000 needed to construct a security fence on the West Colonial side of Oakland’s Historic African American Cemetery

• Commissioners adopted the first reading of an ordinance that rezones 32.8 acres of land at 15900 W. Colonial Drive from C-1 Commercial to PD Planned Development in the town’s Gateway Corridor. The proposal is to develop nearly 6.5 acres fronting Colonial; the remaining land is wetlands.

The applicant proposes four lots with up to 29,000 square feet of commercial/mixed-use space. The proposal includes three drive-thru facilities, which could include restaurants or a pharmacy, but the town will make decisions on them on a case-by-case basis.

“There will not be, as much as people love Chick-fil-A, there will not be a red and white Chick-fil-A with double lanes,” Stark said. “Four Rivers is the type of restaurant that would work here.”

• The commission approved the first reading of an ordinance that would allow the town to place no-parking signs at designated locations and give the Oakland Police Department the authority to tow or impound certain vehicles obstructing the roadway. The project started because of complaints the town received regarding truck parking on Southern Railway Road.

• Commissioners and staff continued their discussion on the final plat for Hull Island Phase 2 and ultimately voted for approval. Elected officials were concerned about the fencing and landscaping along the portion of the subdivision that borders the Oakland Nature Preserve. Following questions at the Oct. 26 commission meeting, staff met with the applicant’s representatives, which offered acceptable solutions.

• The commission approved the final plat of Briley Farm Phase 1A, which will have 17 lots for single-family homes. The plan also calls for reopening Pollard and Nixon streets, which, at one time, were closed. Koontz said these lots will be on a septic system but those in the remaining part of the neighborhood will be able to hook up to sewer.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.