Pickleball courts planned for Bohnert Park

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — The people have spoken. And they want more pickleball.

After fielding an abundance of calls and requests from local players over the past few years, the Jasper Park & Recreation Department aims to bring six additional pickleball courts to the city before the end of the year.

“Every year, the last three, four or five years, we’ve got more and more calls,” said Parks Director Ken Buck. “I mean, it’s probably one of the hottest items we’ve got going in the parks system right now.”

Through an upcoming project, the two aging tennis courts at Bohnert Park are slated to be converted into six pickleball courts — if everything goes according to plan. Tuesday evening, the park board approved the seeking of quotes for the project.

Buck explained that pickleball began gaining traction in the city about five or six years ago, after the city brought four courts to Gutzweiler Park. Four courts are also available on Church Avenue.

As part of the project to bring the new courts to Bohnert Park, the asphalt at the site will be relaid before the surface is recoated.

According to the USA Pickleball Association, pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. It combines many elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong, and though the sport has become more competitive through the years, many players enjoy the social aspects of the game and the ability to stay active in their own towns and communities.

As more retirement locations have adopted pickleball as an integrated sports activity for their population of residents, the USAPA has seen “an explosion of new court construction throughout the United States — especially in the southern states,” reads a line on the organization’s website. “Tennis, racquetball and pingpong players love the competitive nature of the sport and regularly participate in local, regional and national tournaments.”

Buck said that locally, many players are in their mid-50s, but some are in their 80s, and others are younger. Bohnert Park was selected as the project location of the new courts because it has available parking and on-site restrooms.

The money for the project is part of the department’s 2020 budget. After selecting a quote, work could begin and possibly be finished before the end of the year.

“Mainly, the big thing is, this is what the calls we’re getting [want],” Buck explained. “The people really want pickleball. And that’s what we’re here for, to kind of help the public out.”




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