The pickleball courts at the Highlands Rec Park were bustling with players at the official ribbon cutting of the new court system on June 28.
“I am amazed at the turnout for pickleball,” said Mayor Pat Taylor at the dedication. “Our Town Manager Josh Ward and Recreation Director Lester Norris told the board of the need to convert a little-used set of tennis courts to the pickleball court and the rest was history.”
Pictured below is a common scene on the new pickleball courts at the Highlands Rec Park. The courts were bustling with players getting their pickleball fix at the official ribbon cutting ceremony on June 28.
Pickleball players from the area praised the town’s decision to convert the tennis courts to pickleball courts.
Avid pickleballer Craig Atwood said the sport’s popularity has grown over the last decade, especially in the past 5 years.
“Towns all over the country are converting tennis courts to play pickleball,” said Atwood. “It’s athletic, it’s social, and this spike in popularity is in its infancy, it’s only going to get bigger. We are wickedly happy with the commissioners’ decision to switch from tennis to pickleball.”
Pickleball player Pam Johnson expressed her gratitude for the town’s decision to make the switch.
“Our thanks to this amazing community that gifts time, talents, and money; truly love this place and these people,” said Johnson.
The money needed to make the conversion was put into the FY ‘21-’22 budget so work could begin in time for this season.
“This goes to show that the town and the Rec Dept. are open to the changing needs of its citizens,” said Taylor.
The Rec Park now boasts a covered year-round pool, tennis courts, nine pickleball courts; three inside and six outside and at skateboard park.
According to Norris, the final cost to build the six pickleball courts was $123,580.69. This included removing the old fence, the old tennis courts, putting down a new gravel base where needed, a new layer of 2-inch binder asphalt, 1-inch asphalt, two resurfacing coats and two layers of acrylic, six new pickleball nets systems, 3-4 foot divider black-coated chain link fence, and a new black eight-foot coated fence with three gates for a total of $114,560.69.
The town also spent $9,020 moving the brick pad and bench, building a retainer wall, leveling and graveling the sitting area and reseeding the area around the courts for a total of $123,580.69.
There are 82 people on the pickleball group text; some are year-round some are seasonal.
Pickleballers play Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., but people usually come earlier and often show up in groups of four or more randomly thought out the day, said Norris.
For more information, call the Rec Park at 828.526.3556.
Pictured at the top of the article, Mayor Taylor addressed the crowd during Monday’s pickleball court ribbon cutting at the Highlands Rec Park.
Article by Kim Lewicki
Photos by Brian O’Shea