Pickleball Windscreen Controversy in Hot Springs Village
There has been a lot of “chatter” in the community lately regarding the sponsored pickleball windscreens. I reached out to HSVPOA Board Member and Corporate Treasurer Jama Lopez to see if I could find out the stance of the Board on this issue.
My questions are in red, and Board Member Lopez’s answers are in blue.
Cheryl: Ms. Lopez, you were heard to say, ‘there are two sides to every story.‘ HSV Gazette is reaching out to you to find the other side of the story. First, are you speaking for the Board and POA staff?
BOD Jama Lopez: I am speaking for the Board. As Corporate Treasurer, I have been involved in meetings with the pickleball leaders from the beginning.
Cheryl: Who owns the pickleball amenity?
BOD Jama Lopez: The property owners own the pickleball amenity.
Cheryl: The Pickleball Club said that in 2018 they were given permission and approval by the HSVPOA Architectural Control Committee and the HSVPOA Recreation Department to solicit sponsorship and allow sponsors’ advertising on windscreens. To your knowledge, did the POA Board (at that time) have any input or make any decisions regarding this approval, or was this only under the control of the Architectural Control Committee and the Recreation Department?
BOD Jama Lopez: I do not know who gave the Pickleball Club permission. The Architectural Control Committee provided final approval for the permit on December 16, 2018.
Cheryl: Is there something that happened recently that brought the windscreens under the scrutiny of the Board of Directors?
BOD Jama Lopez: At the March 16, 2022, Board of Directors meeting, during the property owner comment period, a property owner expressed concern and said, ‘the pickleball windscreens are the biggest eyesore in the village.’
The new Board was seated on April 20, 2022. GM Kelly [Hale], Chair Joanie [Corry], and I asked to meet with Charles John [HSV Pickleball Club Treasurer] and Greg Allen [HSV Pickleball Club President]. This meeting occurred on May 16. We asked them if they were a non-profit under the IRS code. They said they were not. We told them the windscreens were in violation of our governing documents. They said, “we think they look great.”
Cheryl: Has the font size for the lettering changed over the years? In other words, have some of the lettering fonts become larger?
BOD Jama Lopez: Yes. It is my opinion that the increase in font size brought the windscreens to the attention of more people. Based on photo comparisons, it appears that they have exceeded their 2-foot limit, which would make the original permit null and void.
Cheryl: Has the PIckleball Club done anything wrong with the selling of sponsorships and letting the sponsors advertise on the windscreens, or was this merely a bad decision made in the past by the POA?
BOD Jama Lopez: This was an innovative idea by the Pickleball Club, but by permitting this, the Architectural Control Committee violated our protective covenants.
Cheryl: The Pickleball Club said, ” On July 28th, the PB Club Treasurer and President received a letter from the POA Board Chairman demanding the Club cease and desist all new and renewal contracts for windscreens and provide a complete audit of the donations received and receipts for expenditures.”
To your knowledge, has the Pickleball Club ceased and desisted from signing on new sponsors since they were asked to do so? Also, was a complete audit of the donations received and receipts for expenditures provided?
BOD Jama Lopez: At the May 16, 2022, meeting, we said we would take this back to the board. ‘In the meantime, we ask that you not renew or sign up any new advertisers.’ They agreed.
On July 28, a cease and desist letter was sent to the Pickleball Club. We do not know if they signed new sponsors or renewed existing contracts.
A complete audit of the
donations revenue received and receipts for expenditures was not provided to the Board or POA.
Cheryl: It was said by those present at the Architectural Control Committee meeting when the banners were originally approved that a different shade of blue was approved. Do you know anything about this?
BOD Jama Lopez: My understanding is that the color approved was a darker blue. The windscreens were to be 34 inches wide, 6 feet in height, and the logo was to be no more than 2 feet in height, which is 1/3 of the total height of the windscreen.
Going forward, will the color of the new windscreen banners remain bright blue, or will they be a different color?
BOD Jama Lopez: It is my understanding that the color decision is to be made by the POA Recreation Department and the General Manager.
Cheryl: You said the POA owns the pickleball amenity. How will it be decided what maintenance and improvements (if any) will be made as time goes on? More benches, etc.? How will these improvements and maintenance be funded?
BOD Jama Lopez: Maintenance and Improvements will be requested by the Recreation Department and included in the budgeting process.
Cheryl: Does pickleball produce a positive yield to Village finances, or is there a subsidy, as there is with almost all amenities? What is the amount of the profit or subsidy?
BOD Jama Lopez: It is my understanding that the pickleball facility did make money this past year  – approximately $50,000. This year , it is expected that pickleball will net about $30,000. This is an estimate.
Cheryl: What is the current plan from the POA to eliminate the advertising windscreen banners and replace them with new blank windscreens? Will the advertising contracts be allowed to run out naturally by replacing the windscreens at the time of the individual contract’s end date?
BOD Jama Lopez: We were willing to purchase new windscreens to replace the promotional screens, as the contracts expired. But based on the continuing pushback, I am not sure if the option to replace the windscreens as the contracts expire remains or if they will be replaced all at once.
Pickleball Windscreen Panorama
Report by Cheryl Dowden; Photography by Joe Dowden