HomePickleball NewsUSA Pickleball NewsBringing Pickleball to Rural Ohio

Bringing Pickleball to Rural Ohio

Bringing Pickleball to Rural Ohio: In many small towns across America, residents often need to travel to nearby cities for modern recreational activities. However, for the residents of the Village of New Concord, this inconvenience is about to be a thing of the past. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of students from three Ohio University Regional Campuses, public pickleball courts are set to become a local reality. As the project takes shape, the spirit of collaboration and community engagement shines brightly, heralding a new era of unity and vibrancy for the village.

Securing the Funds:

The transformation of an existing basketball court into pickleball courts was made possible by a $2,000 grant from the Robert E. and Leona L. Fellers Foundation Trust. Retired Ohio University Zanesville (OUZ) Instructor Kathy Normansell, who led the project, explained that the grant was secured as part of the capstone project for the Sport and Lifestyle Studies class. The grant will repurpose one of New Concord Elementary Park’s basketball courts to accommodate two pickleball courts.

A Heartfelt Service Learning Project:

Normansell elaborated on the nature of the project, highlighting its educational and community-oriented aspects. “The Major is for kids wanting to do anything in recreation, to fitness, to coaching. A lot of different areas they go out to, so for the capstone class we always choose a service learning project. And I’ve been involved with NCAARD since it first started. I live in this area, my heart’s here. The students are from Lancaster Campus, Zanesville Campus, and Eastern Campus, so this is kind of central. So as a service learning project, I said let’s write a grant that will benefit NCAARD,” Normansell said.

Practical Steps for Implementation:

Mary Beth Caudill, Director of the New Concord Area Arts and Recreation District, detailed the practical steps for converting the basketball court. She explained that they would use portable nets and surplus road paint to mark the court for pickleball, ensuring not to exclude the basketball players. This approach allows for a shared space where both sports can coexist.

“We’re not taking away basketball, we’re adding pickleball”-Caudill said

Community Involvement and Future Plans:

Caudill also underscored the importance of community involvement in the project. They have been in touch with Chris Huebner (Interim Village Administrator) and he’s coordinating with the street department to get this implemented. They aim to have the courts ready before the Fireman’s Festival in June. We could even have a pickleball game and half-court basketball happening simultaneously.

Bringing Pickleball to Rural Ohio

A Growing Sport for All Ages:

Pickleball, rapidly gaining popularity among Americans of all ages, is often likened to tennis but uses ping pong-like paddles and a wiffleball. The sport offers a fun and engaging way to stay active without the intense physical demands of other racket sports.

In bringing pickleball to New Concord, the students and community leaders are not just adding a new recreational option—they’re enhancing the fabric of their community, providing a shared space for fun, fitness, and togetherness.

News in Brief: Bringing Pickleball to Rural Ohio

Students from Ohio University Regional Campuses collaborated with New Concord community to bring pickleball. Led by retired OUZ Instructor Kathy Normansell, they repurposed a basketball court using a $2,000 grant from Fellers Foundation Trust. The project, part of a capstone class, emphasized service learning and community benefit. Mary Beth Caudill, Director of the New Concord Area Arts and Recreation District, ensured practical steps for shared space. Community involvement, including coordination with the Village Administrator, ensured timely implementation. The initiative reflects pickleball’s growing popularity, offering a fun and inclusive recreational option for residents, enriching community life.


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