Thank you for submitting your grant application for a homelessness shelter expansion.

We received many competitive proposals, including yours. With the limited funds available, we were forced to make some difficult decisions. Consequently, the city’s budget committee has not recommended the shelter expansion project in lieu of creating thirty-five new pickleball courts across our community.

While your proposal to increase the bed availability in your shelter from 80 to 140 by purchasing accessory dwelling units was a surprisingly resourceful plan that did not conflict with existing zoning laws, the budget and governance committees have identified pickleball as the issue that voters care about most. With a meager twenty-five pickleball courts in our metro area, this is obviously a critical need for our valued citizens. The approved funding project will increase the number of courts to sixty and is a necessary measure to reach the goal of 250 pickleball courts within the municipality by 2030.

Homelessness in the region has increased 23 percent over the past three years, and we appreciate the urgency in your proposal that leveraged additional funding to provide case management, job training, and counseling services. However, we endeavor to serve all of our city’s residents. Public comments received for this budgetary period emphasized that our citizens don’t want their taxes to be used for a shelter that they will never have to use, unless they inevitably experience a catastrophic financial crisis. In addition, the number of comments supporting pickleball outnumbered the public comments on all other issues combined by a ratio of three to one.

The proposed pickleball project has numerous benefits. By increasing access to pickleball, the city is investing its resources into the health of its community. It is important to note that these funds will not only go toward constructing the thirty-five new pickleball courts but also toward maintaining the twenty-five existing ones. This allocation includes providing instructors to the most vulnerable pickleball players in our community.

Furthermore, while the proposed homeless shelter is dedicated to a small population of our city, pickleball can be enjoyed by all citizens of all ages and demographics. Plus, even though the twenty-five courts we have now are primarily occupied by forty-year-old men in polos and khaki shorts, we want to ensure everyone can be comfortable in this predominantly white space. As such, the approved budget accounts for developing a fifteen-minute online diversity course for all of our parks and recreation employees. A portion of the funds will also be set aside for an acknowledgment plaque that recognizes the Indigenous people who owned this land and promises to honor their ancestral territory through our pickleball tournaments.

Beyond the pickleball courts, approved funding will support the construction of three new high school football stadiums, an advertising program to warn against the possibility of marijuana gummies being included in children’s Halloween candy, 250 anti-panhandling signs for our downtown area, and slightly faster cars for our police department.

Please rest assured that your project was not the only one that did not receive funding. The other projects that the review committee rejected include:

  • Bradbury Volunteer Fire Department’s proposal to purchase two new fire trucks for our city’s fire department
  • Crisis Response’s proposal to establish an emergency mental health response team
  • Open Food Warehouse’s proposal for an industrial-sized freezer at their food bank
  • Carecovery’s proposal to increase salaries for full-time caretakers of adults living with severe disabilities
  • Haven Heights Retirement Home’s proposal to fix their notorious “mold problem”

We encourage you to apply again in the next funding cycle and look forward to seeing you on the pickleball courts.

Wallace Graham
Public Services Director