Pickleball expansion: fundraising goal met to add courts in Sun Prairie as popularity grows
The sport takes inspiration from ping-pong and tennis.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - It’s pegged as one of the fastest-growing sports in America: Pickleball is becoming a smash hit, with opportunities to play growing.
In 2020, Pickleball grew more than 20% over 2019, with more than four million players nationwide, according to the USA Pickleball Association. The sport, which can be played indoors or outdoors, combines many elements of tennis, table tennis and badminton.
Locally, there is a demand for more court space as people pick up a paddle and play. There are now more than 3,000 players in the Dane Co. area, according to the Capital Area Pickleball Association.
Madison professional pickleball player, and former competitive tennis player, Dave Weinbach travels the country teaching lessons and sharing his knowledge of the game.
“It’s really grown exponentially in the Midwest over the last three or four years, number one because courts are going up,” he said.
On Sunday, Weinbach and other local top players joined Sun Prairie community leaders at Wyndham Hills Community Park as they announced an expansion of the pickleball courts there.
“This was the first place there were ever pickleball courts actually in Dane Co. was in Sun Prairie,” Weinbach said.
The Sun Prairie Parks, Recreation and Forestry director, Kristin Grissom, said the six existing courts will expand to ten.
“In Sun Prairie, we have about 200 pickleball players and growing,” Grissom said. “What is so cool about the sport, and what I noticed today coming here, is how it is such an inter-generational sport.”
Grissom said the non-profit Sun Prairie Parks Friends and a dedicated group of Pickleball players helped fundraise $60,000, making the expansion possible. The city will match funds, with the project, which is costing a total of $120,000.
“I can definitely envision us having some big tournaments here, especially because we will have the largest outdoor dedicated courts in the county,” Grissom said.
Weinbach said pickleball offers a social experience for people of all ages. He said all people need is a paddle, a ball and place to play.
“Folks who have not tried pickleball, give it a chance. But I am going to warn you if you try it, you are going to be addicted for life,” he said.
Grissom said construction on the expansion will begin in March of 2022, with a goal of finishing it in time for the summer season.
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