by Brielle Bredsten
Aitkin (MN) School Board held its regular meeting on April 15 offsite at Buzzies Sunrise Cafe in Malmo, MN.
Over the last year, the Pickleball Association and Aitkin Schools have been discussing a potential pickleball court during Facilities Committee meetings. A meeting was planned with the city of Aitkin on April 18 to discuss a possible partnership between the school district, the association and the city.
Board member Joe Ryan serves on the Facilities Committee, and said pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. He also noted pickleball is included in Aitkin students’ curriculum.
Currently, pickleball can be played in the gymnasium at Rippleside Elementary, which requires taping of the court, Ryan explained. Another available space is at the basketball court at Veteran’s Field, the Aitkin City Park ice rink, or on the tennis courts but the color coding of the court is incorrect, posing challenges of visual overlap for experienced players.
The association would like to locate a new pickleball court near the school softball fields, behind the scoreboards. This location would provide desired privacy, parking and restroom availability for participants, Ryan said.
The association has raised $12,000 of the approximate $27,000 needed to build a new 52-ft by 52-ft court with 8-ft fencing. The cost does not include striping.