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Pickleball Players Demanding More Courts at Washington Park

Pickleball Players Demanding More Courts: Pickleball is emerging as a trendy sport, gaining popularity with new courts, tournaments, and social media buzz. The sudden surge in players has led to a growing demand for playing venues and courts. The Peru City Council recently heard impassioned pleas from nearly 50 local pickleball players requesting additional pickleball court lines at Washington Park. The proposal, spearheaded by the Illinois Valley Pickleball Club, aims to transform the existing tennis courts, increasing the number of pickleball courts from four to ten. This would allow dual usage for both sports, reflecting the growing popularity of pickleball.

A Growing Sport Meets a Growing Community

Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, has seen a significant rise in popularity. Peru’s Mayor, Ken Kolowski, acknowledged this surge, expressing pride in the community’s engagement with the sport. “We will get our heads together and talk with Adam [Thorson, director of parks]. We’ll discuss this at a committee level and see what we can do.” Kolowski said, highlighting the city’s commitment to finding a solution.

The Case for More Courts

Tom Shinnick, a member of the Illinois Valley Pickleball Club, emphasized Peru’s leadership in providing pickleball facilities. “Peru has led on the pickleball courts,” Shinnick stated. “This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because we are bringing people of all walks of life together to play recreationally outside and it’s a curse because we have all these people and not enough courts.” With 203 active members and a 300% increase in membership since 2021, the demand for more courts is evident.

“There are not enough courts on certain occasions for the huge increases in the number of pickleball players and the popularity of the sport.” -(washington park shinnick)

Economic and Social Benefits

Shinnick also noted the economic benefits, explaining that visitors who come to play pickleball often shop in the area, boosting local tax revenue. Keith Pearse, another club member, highlighted the social aspect of the sport. “We play a very social format where we switch our partners and there’s a nice routine going out there that you could create at Washington Park” Pearse said, highlighting the companionship and community spirit promoted by the sport. “We do believe the solution for painting lines on the courts will provide the best low cost solution for the community,” Pearse explained.

“So, you’ll get families in small groups, the young people coming out,It is really getting some critical mass out there.”-(Pearse)

Pickleball Players Demanding More Courts 1

Addressing Concerns and Proposals

While some concerns were raised about the impact on tennis players, former tennis instructor and pickleball player Sue McKnight argued that adding pickleball lines would not interfere with tennis. “I’ve played on several tennis courts that have other pickleball lines or basketball lines like your indoor ones like at the YMCA. And you get used to it,” McKnight said. Alderman Jason Edgcomb expressed concerns from school tennis coaches about potential interference with competitive play, but McKnight believed these concerns were unfounded.

Moving Forward

The council plans to gather input from St. Bede Academy and the tennis community before making a final decision. Director of Parks, Recreation, and Special Events Adam Thorson will present his findings in about a week. Shinnick remains optimistic, envisioning Peru as a potential “pickleball capital of the valley” with significant economic and recreational opportunities.

“Now, we’re cooking, Now we can have tournaments. Now we can bring in people from outside of the area. It’s an opportunity for Peru to be pickleball capital of the valley, but also there’s economic opportunity there.” – Shinnick

News in Brief: Pickleball Players Demanding More Courts

Pickleball players in Peru have requested the City Council to paint additional lines at Washington Park, increasing pickleball courts from four to ten. Nearly 50 enthusiasts attended the meeting, emphasizing the sport’s rapid growth and economic benefits. The Illinois Valley Pickleball Club highlighted the need due to increased membership and court demand.

Concerns about interference with tennis were addressed, with assurances that tennis would take precedence when needed. The council plans to gather further input before deciding. If approved, this expansion could solidify Peru as a regional pickleball hub, promoting community engagement and economic growth.

Our Reader’s Queries

Q. Where is pickleball played the most?

A. Florida stands out as the ultimate pickleball destination. The state offers an abundance of top-notch courts, vibrant pickleball communities, and year-round sunny weather that invites players to enjoy the sport.

Q. How many pickleball courts can you put in a tennis court?

A. You can fit four standard pickleball courts on a regulation-size tennis court (60′ x 120′) with square corners. Each pickleball court should have a playing area of 20′ x 44′, with a total recommended size, including overruns, of 30′ x 60′.

ALSO READ: JAPC Summer Pickleball Season: Coming Soon



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