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1:27 AM Thu, Sept. 20th

Matching fundraiser moves Pickleball club closer to game time

Larry Cloud makes a play at the “kitchen” line during a pickleball tournament in August at the Prescott Lakes courts, while his partner Ben Sialega looks on.

Salina Sialega/Courtesy photo

Larry Cloud makes a play at the “kitchen” line during a pickleball tournament in August at the Prescott Lakes courts, while his partner Ben Sialega looks on.

From dirt to pickleball. That is the vision of a group of players who want to build Prescott’s first public pickleball court from the ground up. A matching fundraiser this month is the focus of the Prescott Pickleball Association (PPA), and the community is invited to help meet the club’s goal by the end of October.

“Every dollar up to $10,000 will be matched dollar for dollar. Let’s make $20,000 in October!” said PPA President Peg Travers. Two anonymous pickleball players have offered to match funds up to $10,000 in the month of October, with the match ending on Oct. 31. The community is encouraged to donate to help build the public courts.

Travers said the club has $60,160 in the court building fund and an additional $30,000 pledged. 

“Another $20K will put us up over $110,000,” Travers said.

In April, the City of Prescott’s Recreation Services committed land at the Pioneer Park sports complex off Willow Creek Road at Commerce Drive. Already at the park are several sports fields for baseball, softball, youth soccer and youth football, as well as a roller hockey rink and a large children’s playground. Hiking trails also lead out from the complex. A sign indicates where the pickleball court will be built.

Anyone can donate by writing a check to the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF) with “PPA” in the memo line, and mail to: Arizona Community Foundation, 300 E. Willis St., Prescott, AZ 86301 or to Travers at 4691 Sharp Shooter Way, Prescott, AZ 86301. Or they can go to the club’s website at www.prescottpickleball.com and hit the donate button.

Original plans for eight courts, which are smaller than a tennis court, will cost an estimated $175,000. The club hopes to have the courts built by Spring.

Travers said construction plans are making progress, and club officers have met with Engineer Andrew Baird from Kimley Horn Engineering. Baird is drawing up the final plans to submit to the city. 

“Once we have the permit, we are ready to build,” Travers said. “We are just waiting for the funding.”

PPA members are busy teaching pickleball to new players and spreading the word about the game. Member Jerry Northwood, long-time pickleball player and national association pickleball ambassador to the Prescott area, has led clinics for the Wounded Warrior veteran group and for young people at the Yavapai County Juvenile Detention Center.

“Jerry is using pickleball as a vehicle to help people in the community,” Travers said.

Pickleball is a growing sport and is especially popular among the senior population, combining tennis, ping pong and badminton and using a Wiffle ball. Courts can be indoors or outdoors. Games can be singles or doubles with men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Several subdivisions and RV/MH parks in the area have courts, as does the YMCA in Prescott and Willow Hills Baptist Church in Prescott.

Many pickleball clubs sponsor tournaments that are open to the public. Players come from across the state and out of state to compete. In fact, tournaments are one of the drawing points that Travers and the PPA have emphasized to the city. The numbers of players in Prescott alone has topped 1,000, Travers added.

For more information about pickleball, visit the association’s website at prescottpickleball.com, or email the association at prescottpickleball@gmail.com, or contact Travers at 978-478-7234.