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September 7, 2017 The Hesston RecordSeptember 7, 2017 The Hesston Record

Pickleball Court Packed At Heritage Park

Posted 8/3/2017

RECORD STAFF

Hesstonians have a new sport at Heritage Park.  The pickleball court is now open for play.  Teams from across the community have been gathering during the unseasonably cool evenings to break in the court and develop their pickleball skills.

Players Dennis and Tammy Wyse of Hesston were out on the court on Sunday evening playing with a group of friends.

“We were introduced to it by my brother on a trip to Phoenix, Arizona,” said Dennis. 

Dennis said the sport allows the couple to remain competitive, but without the post-play pain.

“We’ve both been competitive, so this is something we can do, and it’s social.  I used to play tennis with some of these guys, and we played volleyball. We were excited to be able to be on the court and doing this kind of thing; and it’s not hard on your joints,” said Dennis.

The Wyses added the game gets people of all generations engaged.

“Our grandson is 12, and it’s easy for young people and old people to compete on the same court,” said Dennis.

Tammy added while learning the rules can be complicated at first, as soon as players master the basics it is all fun and games.

“Go get some rackets, share them, and bring your neighbors out to play,” said Dennis. 

The sport was originally developed for seniors interested in keeping fit and competitive, but avoiding the strain of high-intensity sports like tennis.

“Our intent was to add this sport to our community to help address needed activities for seniors. However, the sport is becoming very popular among all demographics.

“I have never played, but I intend to. I am hoping that the Recreation Department will add competitive pickleball to their list of activities” said City Administrator Gary Emry.

Emry said the court was installed by popular request after a website survey in conjunction with the recreation project planning.

“We originally added this to the recreation project scope of sporting activities but the cost was prohibitive, more than $100,000 per court. So the city council gave me permission to build a court. Final cost for the court was $20,600,” said Emry.

Emry added Heritage Park was the logical location for the court, as there were already utilities and an unused green space large enough to accommodate the court. 

“Although not oriented to the north and south as courts should be, we were not able to place the court in that orientation without significantly impacting mature trees. After dialog with the local players, it was decided to build it in an east-west orientation,” said Emry.

Emry added if sun becomes a challenge for players, the city will look into adding sun shading or possibly more lighting for evening play.