It has come to my attention that there is a plan to convert the 4 tennis courts at the Derby Middle School into a parking lot. I urge the City, Derby Rec, and the Derby School district to reconsider and explore the option to repurpose those 4 tennis courts into 12 pickleball courts instead.
Over the last few years, pickleball has been rising in popularity. In fact, pickleball is considered one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. Due to the soaring popularity of this game, many parks and recreation departments are now adding pickleball to their sports programming.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong using a paddle and whiffle ball. It is a game that is appropriate for players of all ages and skill levels. Rules for pickleball are simple, making it a great introductory sport. It can also be quite the challenging, fast-paced, and competitive game when people become more experienced at playing.
If the courts are structurally sound it would be a matter of filling cracks, resurfacing, adding pickleball posts and nets, and adding a fence down the middle to separate the north and south courts.
Wichita recently converted 2 tennis courts at Edgemoor Park and Seneca Park into 6 pickleball courts at each location. These courts are constantly busy with free public play.
The Derby Recreation Commission has indoor courts available on a limited basis, and has recently added pickleball lessons. Adding outdoor courts would allow the Derby Rec to increase their offerings of pickleball lessons to include youth and advanced drill groups.
Economically these pickleball courts could be a boon for the City of Derby. Having 12 outdoor courts would make Derby the leader in outdoor pickleball courts in one location in central Kansas. With that many courts it would be possible to hold USAPA tournaments in the spring, summer, and fall. Recently Wichita held the ICT pickleball tournament on June 8 – 9. They had 129 players, from Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio play during the weekend tournament.
Pickleball courts are something that the whole community, young and old, could use for fun, fitness, and competition.
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