Arlington board to address pickleball noise near Walter Reed Community Center

While pickleball may be popular in Arlington, Virginia, the noise heard by local neighbors continues to be a big point of debate. The Arlington County Board says they’re working on it.

At a county board meeting on March 18, chair Christian Dorsey said that they are looking at community pickleball concerns and potential solutions will be presented at their next meeting in April.

“Sparks have been flying between pickleballers and neighbors of the Walter Reed Community Center,” said Tim Dillinger, who is on the leadership team of the Arlington Pickleball Club.

Pickleball players in Arlington and nearby residents are clashing over the idea of more pickleball courts being created in the area. Opponents of the new courts say it’s already too noisy for the neighborhood.

Arlington Now reported in December that a group of residents living near the park had registered complaints that noise from the game, and activities around it, had become excessive.

Last July, the Arlington County Board approved a Capital Improvement Plan, which included plans to include new park programs that address the growing need for dedicated pickleball courts.

From that plan, much of concern from residents has been the prospect of adding a flagship pickleball facility at the Walter Reed Community Center.

“‘Ping, ping, ping!’ for seven days a week, 15 hours a day … everyday,” said Chad, a nearby resident. He said the noise is impacting his family’s mental health.

“No one is listening to us,” he added. “We cannot even use our backyards because the noise is constant.”

The posted hours for pickleball and basketball games at the courts at Walter Reed Community Center and Park that players say they follow. (WTOP/Stetson Miller)

Dillinger told the Arlington County Board that the pickleball club and members of the Columbia Heights Civic Association have come up with a joint task force to find some common ground with disgruntled residents, but said “we are very far apart on a number of issues.”

Dillinger says his organization plans on moving forward with the new pickleball center.

“We have overwhelmed and outgrown that facility a long time ago,” he said. “Please intervene with parks and rec, they are dead set on a collision course for a fiasco.”

Chad says the county response to neighborhood pickleball complaints have not helped the problem.

“People are urinating in the parks. DPR’s response is to put (out) a porta-potty,” he said. “That is not a solution.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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