MT. PLEASANT — Despite a couple set backs, the Mt. Pleasant Pickleball Committee is forging ahead with their plan to build six outdoor pickleball courts for the community.
The project, which began in the summer of 2018, hit a couple snags when bids for construction came back higher than expected. The group was originally given an estimate of $155,000 for the courts, which will be built in the open field next to the Mt. Pleasant Middle School.
Following a call for bids at the end of 2018, the committee was confronted with a $200,000 price tag. A second call for bids earlier this month came back at $188,300, one the group is hoping to pursue with the continued support of the community.
John Roederer, a member of the committee, noted the project is a collaborative effort between the committee, the local schools as well as the City of Mt. Pleasant.
“We have total support from our community. When we went to different groups that administer grants, they were very impressed that we had all entities involved. Everyone is really excited about it,” he said.
The idea to build the courts began when local pickleball players noticed increased interest in the sport from students.
“It’s one of the fastest growing sports. It’s intergenerational, doesn’t matter if you’re a youth or senior, it’s for all ages,” Roederer said.
The committee member added the courts will be a great addition for exercise science teachers, who can incorporate another sport into their curriculum. Because the sport is accessible to a range of people in different age groups, Roederer anticipates the courts also will allow for more interaction between older and younger community members.
“I think we’re all concerned about living a healthy lifestyle. [The courts] will just give the community another opportunity to take part in an activity that is promoting health and wellness, and improve social interaction between all ages in the community,” Roederer added.
Roederer said the committee is now looking to hit a goal of $211,000 in their fundraising, which will not only cover the cost of construction, but any additional fees, a wind screen for the courts as well as a sign.
“We’re up at about $208,000 to $209,000, so we’re getting pretty close to that target. Hopefully, we’re looking to be able to sit down with the school board at the end of the month because we’d like to see the project get started some time this spring if at all possible,” he said.
Looking ahead, Roederer said once the courts are completed, local pickleball players hope to use the space to host tournaments.
“With six, we’ll be able to handle quite a few people and so it can potentially be an economic advantage to the community. We believe once we get the outside courts built, we’ll see an increase in participation from the community,” he said.