Where do all the pickleball players go?

Where do all the pickleball players go?

January 08, 2019 0 Comments

Never has a sport come onto the national scene and grown as quickly as pickleball.  As most people that play the sport know, finding a consistent and available location to play is the drawback to the explosion.  Even with an estimated 7,000 places to play, it can be difficult finding courts nearby.  Cities, towns and recreation centers are trying to accommodate players with new courts, but that requires funding. 

Share courts with tennis players and the dreaded tape residue?  AAAGGGHHH!

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Bob Lanzi, the Eden Prairie (MN) recreation supervisor calls it Phase 2 of the fever, as parks and recreation departments move from retrofitting gym or tennis courts for pickleball to building permanent facilities.  They recently approved construction of 8 new pickleball courts at local parks for $426,000 and added 5 courts at Central Park at a cost of $262,000.  The local pickleball club has over 535 members who made sure that city officials knew their thoughts on adding more courts.

A new top-of-the-line sports facility just started construction in Tucson (AZ), which will add 145 acres south of the existing 155-acre complex at a cost of almost $58 million.  In addition to baseball and multi-use fields, there will be 20 pickleball courts.

Reenie Ochoa, the Pima County Stadium District director said, “Pickleball is not just for seniors anymore. It’s a growing sport and there’s a very good nucleus of pickleball players here in Tucson and Green Valley, the climate being what it is. It’s taken off exponentially.”

“The pickleball community reached out to county officials to express interest in building a pickleball tournament location.”  We said, ‘OK, let’s build this the right way.”

In Holly Hill, Florida the City Commission is scheduled to vote on economic incentives for a proposed recreation facility that some say could become the “Wimbledon of Pickleball.”  A local couple has offered to donate $3 million to build the planned 24-court complex.  Players have asked the city to contribute $1 million in funds to cover the project’s infrastructure costs.  If it gets approved, it will be the second largest pickleball facility in the state behind East Naples Community Park.

Another example is Tustin Legacy Park (CA) that committed $19.5 million to develop Veterans Sports Park.  It’s a 32-acre park that will feature fields and courts for softball, football, soccer, tennis and wait for it…. pickleball!

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So how do you get your city to build new or additional pickleball courts?

  • Form a pickleball club if you don’t have one or recruit more members if you do
  • Talk to neighboring pickleball clubs about partnering together
  • The more voices you have, the more you’ll be heard
  • Have your members contact your municipality’s recreation director or supervisor
  • It could take city and private funding to get the courts or facility built
  • Converting dormant tennis courts to pickleball courts is an option since 6 pickleball courts can replace 2 tennis courts
  • It may take months or even years to make it happen, so start today

As always, please feel free to forward this email to a friend!

Have any more advice for other pickleball players trying to get more courts in their area?  Let us know if the comments below.

Good luck on the court,

 

Duke

Quick Pickle- For the Love of Pickleball

© Quick Pickle 2018




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