Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Park unveils new pickleball courts

Photo courtesy of Chad Craig grossepointenews.com – The Park recently cut the ribbon at its new pickleball courts at the Lavins Activity Center. From left are councilmembers Jim Robson and Barb Detwiler, Mayor Bob Denner, Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Robert Klacza, Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Clark, Parks and Recreation Supervisor Chad Craig and councilmembers John Chouinard and Lauri Read.

GROSSE POINTE PARK — The wait is over for Park residents wanting to play pickleball at the municipal park.

Monday, Jan. 14, council cut the ribbon on three new indoor pickleball courts at the Lavins Activity Center. The park also is hosting a learn-to-play event 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20. The event is free to park pass holders and their guests.

“The council’s been real happy about it,” said Parks and Recreation Supervisor Chad Craig. “The rec commission has been backing it and we’ve …. had a lot of resident interest in it. So here it is.”

Two of the three courts are open for rental noon to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. If needed, all the required equipment is available, said Craig.

Renting the courts follows the normal court-rental guidelines with reservations required 24 hours in advance with payment on arrival or 72 hours in advance if prepaying. Craig said they are looking into establishing drop-in times as well.

Craig said the third court will be used if and when the park decides to run larger events such as tournaments or leagues. But for now, only the two are being rented out.

Pickleball is a variation of tennis, badminton and pingpong. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a tennis net, solid paddles and a wiffle ball.

“It’s what a lot of tennis players like to play,” Craig said. “As you start to age and your knees get bad, just normal wear and tear of getting older, this is an easier sport. The ball travels a little less, there’s less bounce, less speed to it and the court is a lot smaller. So there’s not as much side to side as you would have on a normal tennis court.”

But a lot of younger adults are interested in the sport as well, said Craig.

“It’s not just older adults transitioning from tennis into it. It’s a lot of younger ones as well.”

Craig said he’s already received many emails and phone calls from younger residents looking at renting out the courts. And that interest was one of the driving factors for offering rentals Wednesday evenings.

Craig said because of the popularity of the sport, especially locally, Patterson Park also is set to get a couple courts in the spring.

Although the plans and layout are still being firmed up, Craig said two pickleball courts will be established after the tennis courts at Patterson are resurfaced in the spring. He said approximately $5,000 has been raised by residents eager to play the sport.

The event Wednesday, Feb. 20, is hosted by certified pickleball instructor Patrick Cardinali. He will give demonstrations and answer questions, said Craig.

“It will be good for even your serious players down to beginners of how you play one-on-one, how you play partners, the do’s and don’ts, that kind of stuff.”

For more information and to reserve a court time, call the Lavins Activity Center front desk, (313) 822-2812, Ext. 300.


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