By By Ben Rayner • 09/29/2021 9:15 am EST
The city’s new pickleball courts at Bittner Park are complete and ready to use, and just in time. The sport is rapidly gaining popularity on the coastline, and local players are eager for places to play. Parks and Recreation Director Rick Maynard said the original Oct. 1 opening date has been moved forward as construction on the grounds was completed last week and the grounds are now slated to open on Tuesday. October 12 at 2 p.m.
The courts have been going on for several years. Originally, they were intended for a site at Adams Middle School. According to Maynard, after the Adams site was approved, testing revealed that the soil was not suitable for the design. After another round of approvals, the Bittner site was chosen.
For connoisseurs, pickleball, a variation of tennis, badminton and a light dose of ping-pong, has become a preferred way to exercise and have fun with friends and family. The game has several origin stories (visit Zip06.com for a full overview of the game’s history related to this story), but no matter who invented or popularized the past, it has taken root in many communities due to the ease of play and the fun it generates.
Maynard said the courts will be a huge addition to Bittner’s renovation on its north side section, which now also includes the skate / bike park, tennis courts and the disc golf course. The pickleball zone will now have four dedicated and permanent pickleball courts, as well as the option to add two more on the tennis courts for tournaments and fundraisers.
“The paint has fallen, the nets are up and the grounds are now open to everyone,” said Maynard.
Maynard said there had been a few minor setbacks since construction began at Bittner, mostly due to weather conditions, but everything went smoothly and the courts actually opened a little earlier than expected. despite previous delays.
“The recent rains caused significant erosion up there, but the company corrected that quickly. It delayed things a bit, but you can’t control the weather and Hinding (the local construction company) did a great job on schedule, ”Maynard said.
Tom Hinding of Hinding Tennis, LLC, said his business has been inundated with requests for courts and information about the game and how to get a court.
“It’s the fastest growing sport in America right now. I’ve never seen a sport grow so quickly in all my years in the business. Two-thirds of the calls we get have something to do with it. thing to do with pickleball, ”Hinding said.
According to Maynard, there will be a grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Bittner Fields to notify residents of field availability and introduce the game to the city. Maynard said the site will be able to host tournaments and fundraisers in the future.
“We are very excited about Bittner Park. Pickleball has really gotten huge over the last 8-10 years and I’m sure the fields will be heavily used. The courts will be open to everyone, in fact we have over 120 seniors who are already playing the game, ”Maynard said.
Local pickleball fan Stephani Blaha said the game has become a favorite way for residents to socialize and enjoy the last rays of the season.
“It’s so easy to learn. It takes a little while to figure out the rules and positions, but it’s really fun. It became very popular with people who used to play tennis, but who may not be able to play a full court. The smaller courts are easier to navigate and are just as fun and challenging, ”said Blaha.