Appleton set to add new pickleball complex to Telulah park
Dean Gazza,director for the Appleton Parks and Recreation Department said the last few years he has gotten an overwhelming amount of requests for new pickleball courts.
APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Appleton will add a new eight-court pickleball complex to Telulah Park in 2022.
The fast-growing paddle sport had become popular in the area. It combines elements of tennis with badminton and ping-pong.
Dean Gazza, director for the Appleton Parks and Recreation Department, said the last few years he has gotten an overwhelming amount of requests for new pickleball courts.
“We get some strong requests, but the one that’s been consistent has been pickleball,” Gazza said.
He said most calls come from older community members. To make the parks welcoming for all, he said, adding the courts was a no-brainier.
“It’s easy to find sports for our younger population, but our older population it becomes more challenging, so pickleball has filled that niche,” Gazza said.
Physical therapist Kari Sturtevant said the sport has been very popular with older adults because it is a lower impact sport than most others.
“As far as playing actual sports, I think people start to shy away from that around 50 or 60, and I think pickleball has a much lower impact but it is still very athletic with cutting and changing directions and using your whole body,” Sturtevant said.
Appleton originally budgeted $35,000 this year to design a pickleball complex, and it identified the need for another $350,000 for construction in 2023. Philanthropist Mary Beth Nienhaus offered to pay $500,000 toward the construction and accelerated the project to 2022.
Gazza hopes that this new complex will bring even more people together over the sport.
“The excitement that everyone can be playing together because there will be 8 courts is just exciting. I never anticipated anything like this in Appleton,” Gazza said.
At this time, most all of Appleton’s pickleball courts are just tennis courts with pickleball lines painted over top.
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