Kelly Park in Warsaw now has two new features ready for the public’s use, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held for each Wednesday afternoon.
Members of the pickleball club Phanatics waited patiently before the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at 2:30 p.m. for Kosciusko County’s only outdoor pickleball courts. As soon as they could get on the four courts, games began.
At 3:30 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for Kelly Park’s new playground equipment – the largest in the City of Warsaw Parks and Recreation System. It features slides, stairs, climbers and more features for younger and older kids.
Kelly Park, 130 Fawley St., is located on the south side of Warsaw off of Ranch Road. It is one of 18 parks in the city’s system.
Grants of $32,000 from K21 Health Foundation and the Dr. Dane & Mary Louise Miller Foundation helped renovate and expand two previous tennis courts at Kelly Park into one tennis court and four pickleball courts, according to a news release from the Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department.
“Pickleball has become very popular in the last several years, continuing to be one of the fastest growing activities in the country,” said K21 President and CEO Rich Haddad in the release. “When we learned about the city’s plan to improve Kelly Park and include dedicated courts, we were thrilled to partner with them and with the Miller Foundation to make it happen, and we hope the courts attract current pickleball players as well as those who have never played the game.”
At the ceremony, he talked of how the K21 hopes the new courts will keep the community active.
Dan Hann, board member of the Dr. Dane & Mary Louise Miller Foundation, said in the release, “I spend a lot of time in Indiana and in Florida, and there is no question that this is the sport that is taking communities by a storm. Initially growing with the seniors in our communities, we are now seeing people of all ages really enjoying pickleball. The Miller Foundation is thrilled to be a partner in expanding our community’s opportunities for sport and recreation.”
At Wednesday’s ceremony, he said the Miller Foundation was very excited to be a part of the pickleball courts. He thanked Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer who was open minded about the courts and helped make them happen. Hann also said that with the courts and the new playground equipment, the park looked “fantastic.”
“Kelly Park is a bit of a hidden gem in the Warsaw Parks system, but we don’t want it to be the ‘best kept secret in Warsaw’ anymore,” said Parks Department Superintendent Larry Plummer in the release. “The Parks Department has worked hard to renovate the park in the past years, adding a sledding hill, and new playground equipment, as well as a larger parking area for visitors. The addition of the pickleball courts adds to the amenities available to our community through our local parks.”
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the playground equipment, Thallemer said, “I think it all speaks for itself. It’s part of the Parks Department’s five-year master plan. It’s state-of-the-art equipment.”
He said the Parks Board just planned it and approved it and he just said yes.
“It’s turned into a significant park on the south side of Warsaw,” Thallemer said.
He said with the new pickleball courts, sledding hill and playground equipment, there’s a lot of opportunity for recreation. He also thanked the Dr. Dane & Mary Louise Miller Foundation and the K21 Health Foundation for their support.
“The other great thing is, (Kelly Park) truly is a neighborhood park,” Thallemer said.