Abingdon, Virginia: Fans of pickleball lobby to build fields

ABINGDON, Va. — I didn’t see any of the pickleball people at the most recent work session held by the Abingdon Town Council on Feb. 20.

But, boy, they sure did pack the audience at the January work session on the lower level of town hall.

That month, several pickleball players expressed interest in Abingdon moving forward with the construction of a site for playing pickleball.

What’s this?

Well, this sport is obviously not as well-known as tennis, a sport with courts that have been sometimes borrowed by pickleball players in Abingdon.

It’s not as well-known as badminton, either.

Still, in recent years, pickleball has become increasingly popular among both indoor and outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Pickleball can be played with a simple paddle and plastic ball. It got its start by three fathers: Congressman Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. These men came up with rules that closely followed badminton. Yet, all along, they wanted this game to be easy and enjoyed by all family members.

Pickleball can be played both indoors and outdoors. And, players say, it’s kind of like a cross between tennis, badminton and pingpong.

The plan to play pickleball in Abingdon has now made it into the most recent report to the Town Council by the interim town manager, Ken Vittum.

The report states: “Pickleball Courts — Staff is moving ahead with leasing a site at the Community Center for two courts. The funds are in the new budget and work would be done this summer to install the new courts.”

The plan to build pickleball courts was also reported at the work session on Feb. 20 by Kevin Worley, the town’s director of outdoor parks and recreation.

Worley said he made a recent visit to the community center, where he’s selected a spot to begin building pickleball courts as early as July.

“That site works very well for a lot of reasons,” Worley told the town council.

For one, it would provide a shelter in case of emergencies.

Restrooms, parking and lunch options are also on-site, Worley said.

“It would also get more foot traffic into the community center and more recognition,” Worley said. “Therefore, the sidenote for that is they’re getting more people in financially supporting the facility. So, I think, that could be a very positive thing.”

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