County gives pickle ball group a consolation to what they initially wanted


A group of pickle ball petitioners have been contacting the Kernville Chamber of Commerce and the county. And according to Kernville Chamber board members the group wants to use Kernville property to build pickle ball courts and they want answers. 

If the answer is “no” the group planned to move on. President of the chamber Orion Sanders said that he gave the group answers and never brushed them off. 

He told the chamber, “If they want what they’re asking me for, they want five acres. They want seven to eight courts. And we do not have the space for it. Unless, I’ll say, I don’t own that piece of property, if the (Kern) County (Board of Supervisors) wants to give them five acres you’re going to lose your rodeos, because there’s no room for the rodeo and the park in the back, if you take that chunk of the property out.  We do have room for three, or if you want to make it tight, four courts. And I went over that with them, and I even showed them where the area is, it’s right next to the ball park.” 

Sanders told the chamber that if Kernville did that they’d probably have to do some tractor work to allocate some space for horse corrals. Several times a year when they have rodeos they bring in upwards to 100 corrals from outside next to the ball field and behind it. The chamber does not want to lose the rodeo, which generates tourism.

Some members of the chamber pondered whether pickle ball tournaments would bring in revenue.  

The pickle ball group according to Sanders wants a $1 million project.  Sanders said, “Building the project is one thing. What they failed to address for us, for the board of directors and Kernville members is; how is that going to get maintained on a regular basis? Where is that money going to come from? Insurance, power, there’s a whole scope of things.”

The Kernville Chamber’s responsibility is to use the property to create commerce for the businesses in the community. The group never gave Sanders numbers on what sort of revenue any possible tournaments or the use of the courts would bring to the community. The group believes they can raise money to build them. Sanders said if the chamber was to cut the rodeo short on property use, the rodeo would leave for a different area to have their rodeo. The rodeos are a big event Kernville Chamber of Commerce prefers to keep. 

Sanders said he can’t give approval unless the pickle ball group can provide plans and some sort of proof of how they will fund maintenance on such a project. And the project has to be the correct size. 

Senior CAO manager over construction services at the General services department of Kern County, Michelle Burns-Lusich explained how the county is providing pickle ball courts in Kern Valley. Burns-Lusich said the flood allowed the county to afford a project at the basketball court, and in turn, the pickle ball courts.

She said, “I’m doing a project funded by FEMA to reconstruct the features at Riverside Park back to pre existing conditions. And so part of that project is the repair of the basketball court, that is in that park, that was damaged during the flood. And in re-paving that basketball court, we are going to be adding striping for two pickle ball courts, as well, on the basketball court. Again that’s part of my construction project that is funded by FEMA.”