Dallas Water Utilities plans to make room for public pickleball courts at their new facility.

City officials hosted an important meeting Monday night to announce that Dallas Water Utilities would be constructing a new service center on their land at 12000 Greenville Avenue. The facility will be critical to keeping service employees at-the-ready for decades, but we have a confession to make. We had trouble focusing on the news. It was a little tidbit mentioned during the meeting — almost an aside — that had us riveted. Also on the land, 6 public pickleball courts are planned.

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I know, right. Yippity-do-dah-day.

Pickleball is a mash-up of tennis and ping pong that has been skyrocketing in popularity around the world. It’s a low-impact way to get a little exercise, and it’s a healthy way to connect with friends and neighbors. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association named it the “fastest-growing sport over the last two years,” and it appeals to everyone from elementary school to the senior set.

The new service center will house DWU’s Neighborhood Drainage Services and Wastewater Collection divisions. These groups provide essential wastewater and stormwater services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They enhance the operation, maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure for Dallas’ northern and eastern sectors. Design work is done, and construction is estimated to begin in 2024 once permitting is complete.

You may recall that city officials once had other plans for 12000 Greenville Avenue. Neighborhood residents voiced strong opposition in 2019 to a proposed homeless shelter on this land, just south of the Markville post office and east of JG’s Hamburgers. An alternate plan for an urban farm was shepherded by then-councilmember Adam McGough with overwhelming support by LH neighbors.

The first iteration of an urban farm involved local hero Daron Babcock, who offered to install an offshoot of Bonton Farms. There, formerly incarcerated and homeless individuals live and work to earn their keep. They eat what they grow and run a coffee shop and a restaurant popular with supportive neighbors. When Bonton Farms’ board of directors suggested Babcock had all he could say grace over, he gave up his ambitious expansion plan. The second iteration of an urban farm involved City of Refuge, an outfit out of Atlanta. For a variety of reasons, that plan fell through in 2021.

Construction of the pickleball courts is envisioned as part of a potential future community project on the DWU tract, in partnership with Dallas Park and Recreation and the Dallas City Council. The plan is subject to the availability of funding through operating and bond dollars for park purposes.

Dallas Water Utilities will build a new service center at 12000 Greenville Avenue.