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An idea to create more pickleball courts at Crandon Park looks like it will hit the net before it even gets served, according to one member of a powerful committee that controls the use of the Park 

More courts for the popular sport are being pushed by County Commissioner Raquel Regalado and former Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey, who were both appointed in November to the four-member Crandon Park Amendment Committee. 

But another member of the committee — Bruce Matheson — said Sunday he would not be in favor of an amendment to allow pickleball at the tennis center. 

His reason? “There are eight pickleball courts at Calusa Park,” he said, noting that the park’s master plan allows only tennis at the tennis center. 

Matheson, an environmentalist whose wealthy family retains some rights under a 1930’s deed and succeeding litigation, has long taken a stance at minimizing change to the master plan, a position that has irked County and Village leaders for years. 

In March, Regalado asked the County Commission to start the process of formally amending the master plan to include pickleball at Crandon. 

“Pickleball is a multigenerational-friendly evolution of tennis that has become massively popular countywide and I think it makes perfect sense to include more of it at crandon,” said Regalado, whose District 7 includes Key Biscayne. She is also a pickleball adherent.

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Davey agreed. “It’s a county park for county residents. And, you know, we need to figure out what do they want? I certainly think Pickleball is a reasonable request.”

Matheson said the committee has not been presented with a formal request and Davey said Sunday no meetings have yet been set. He said he does not view changes in use and conservation efforts as being mutually exclusive, and hoped to have a conversation with Matheson about an evolution to better serve the needs of the community. 

But, he said, he hoped Matheson would come with a spirit of compromise. 

“It’s not his park,” he said Sunday. 


Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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