David Veselenak, Hometownlife.com Published 11:56 a.m. ET May 6, 2019
A pickleball clinic was held April 30 in Livonia. David Veselenak, hometownlife.com
Athletes looking for a unique way to have fun at Livonia’s Compton Park this summer will only need to bring their bread-and-butter A-game.
The city of Livonia expects to bring six new pickleball courts to the park, located off Lyndon between Middlebelt and Inkster, later this summer.
Ted Davis, superintendent of parks and recreation, said the courts will be the first dedicated outdoor pickleball courts in the city.
“This is something we’ve thought for a couple of years that we needed to add,” he said, adding several surrounding towns such as Canton and Farmington Hills have dedicated courts.
The courts will replace the inline skating area for hockey that was installed decades ago. Davis said that area isn’t used as often and adding the pickleball courts would dedicate space to a sport that’s growing in popularity.
PhotoIneko Yamakawa of Redford strikes a ball at the recreation center in Livonia during a pickleball clinic April 30. (Photo: David Veselenak | hometownlife.com)
Pickleball is similar to tennis in that it’s played on a court, albeit somewhat smaller. Instead of a racket, players use paddles and strike a wiffle ball back and forth over the net.
“If tennis and ping pong had a baby, it would be pickleball,” Davis said. “I definitely believe it has increased in popularity.”
Veronica Eggert of Livonia plays pickleball April 30. (Photo: David Veselenak | hometownlife.com)
It’s a game, supporters say, that’s easy for seniors to pick up and encourages social interaction since the court is smaller.
The city has approved a contract for about $129,000 for the construction of the courts, with $50,000 coming from the Community Development Block Grant program. Davis said work is expected to begin this year and the hope is the courts can be completed by the fall.
Once completed, they would be the first dedicated pickleball courts in Livonia. Several tennis courts at Shelden Park and Bicentennial Park are marked for pickleball as well as tennis, but Davis said the city hopes to eventually have dedicated pickleball courts at those parks as well. Pickleball can also be played at the Jack E. Kirksey Recreation Center, 15100 Hubbard, which has some gyms with markings for the game.
Kathy Dabkowski strikes the ball during a pickleball clinic April 30 at the recreation center in Livonia. (Photo: David Veselenak | hometownlife.com)
But despite the push for pickleball, the city’s not abandoning tennis. Davis said new tennis courts are being installed at Rotary Park at Six Mile and Hubbard, which will have plenty of new amenities. Those include more accessible pathways, a new drinking fountain with a water bottle refilling station and shade areas.
“There, we’re going to improve the player experience quite a bit,” Davis said. “We’re excited about that.”
Contact David Veselenak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.