Partnering for Pickleball

City employees help Royal Garden Community construct a pickleball court.

Spring is officially here and our thoughts naturally turn to outdoor sports and recreational activities. The City’s Michael Goth and Heather Knowles ask you to consider pickleball, for instance.

Pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It is attractive to all ages as it brings together the excitement of racquet sports with lighter equipment. And “it’s fast becoming a favourite recreational activity amongst Edmontonians,” says Michael, a Neighbourhood Resource Coordinator.

Photo credit: Ken Hurshowy, Edmonton Pickleball Club

Photo credit: Ken Hurshowy, Edmonton Pickleball Club

Champions of the sport formed the Edmonton Pickleball Club (EPC), with the mandate to look for new opportunities to grow their sport throughout Edmonton. When approached by the EPC, Royal Gardens Community League was interested in pursuing new activities to utilize their tennis court space. Both Royal Gardens and the Edmonton Pickleball Club were excited to be part of this collaboration to provide more opportunities for Edmontonians to live active and have fun! As part of the partnership, Royal Gardens Community League and the EPC also wanted to explore refurbishing and upgrading the tennis courts to further enhance the playing environment. With some assistance from Michael and Heather, the wheels were set in motion.

“The group wanted to see more opportunity for the sport to take place outdoors, so they could enjoy it during the spring, summer and early fall months,” says Heather.

Over the next 21 months, through the Community Group Led Construction Guide, a premium court facility for the sport was constructed, that would also benefit the residents of Royal Gardens.

“We undertook a process of collaboration that supported the local residents’ vision, plan and initiated construction of amenities in their neighbourhood,” says Michael.

“The process certainly involved some learnings, but provided a great opportunity for relationship building that set positive foundations for the future,” explains Michael. “It is rewarding to see all our hard work come to fruition with the development of a great piece of community infrastructure that will engage Edmontonians of all ages and encourage a wider network to participate in a fast growing sport.”

Credit: Ken Hurshowy, Edmonton Pickleball Club

Credit: Ken Hurshowy, Edmonton Pickleball Club

The facility was developed with a variety of programming options, including 6 dedicated pickleball courts, along with multipurpose courts which can also be used for tennis, badminton, or other sports, and 2 basketball courts. A boardwalk and patio area was also added so that spectators can watch the fun.

The City contributed just over $40,000 towards the project through the Community League Infrastructure Program; the remaining $75,000 was fundraised by the Royal Gardens Community League and the EPC.

So when the warm weather makes its welcome return, the Royal Gardens community will be ready to go!

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