City Opens Six New Pickleball Courts at West Hills Park

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

City Opens Six New Pickleball Courts at West Hills Park

Posted: 09/14/2015
ribbon cutting at new pickleball courtsKnoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, City Councilman Duane Grieve and pickleball enthusiasts cut the ribbon for six new outdoor pickleball courts in West Hills Park on Monday morning, Sept. 14.

They are the first outdoor courts for the increasingly popular sport in Knoxville. Pickleball, a combination of tennis, ping pong and badminton, is a West Coast sport reported to be the fastest-growing sport in the United States. 

“We’re a leading city in promoting outdoor recreation and offering a range of options – everything from mountain-biking the Urban Wilderness, to playing youth sports, to getting out on Knoxville’s waterways,” Mayor Rogero said. “Given its popularity among all age groups, pickleball is a great new way to encourage even more people to get outdoors, get some exercise and have fun.”

The new pickleball courts replace two tennis courts on the east end of West Hills Park. With the development of the new West Hills Tennis Facility on the west end of the park, the two tennis courts at Sheffield Drive on the park’s east end offered the opportunity to meet increasing demand for outdoor pickleball courts in Knoxville.

Click here to view photos from the ribbon cutting of the six new pickleball courts.

new pickleball courts at west hills“We originally tested the waters with pickleball in our recreation centers, and we had an overwhelming response,” said Joe Walsh, Director of Parks and Recreation. “We’re happy to be able to provide six new courts only two years after initiating this fun sport in Knoxville, while at the same time revitalizing two older tennis courts that needed a little TLC.”

The project, costing less than $50,000, involved resurfacing the courts, painting six 44-by-20-foot courts, improving the fencing and paving an accessible path from the new parking lot. PlayRite was the project contractor.

The game of pickleball is played with a ball similar to a wiffle ball that is hit with wooden paddles resembling ping pong paddles. Up to four players can participate in a game at one time. Aaron Browning, the City’s Athletics Coordinator, attributes the sport’s popularity to its small court size and quick learning curve.

“The courts are half the size of a tennis court, so players still enjoy the volleying aspect of tennis without a sizeable court to cover,” said Browning. “This makes pickleball appealing for all users. Kids have a blast playing it without intimidation, and seniors appreciate the smaller court surface.”

The City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department has been providing indoor pickleball at several recreation centers through both the children’s After School Program and through open pickleball play for adults, in which approximately 200 players already participate. 

Lines for indoor pickleball courts have been striped at the Deane Hill, Milton Roberts, Christenberry, Lonsdale and Inskip recreation centers. South Knoxville Community Center, a senior center, is slated to receive permanent pickleball lines in its gym this fall. 

“The seniors are excited for permanent lines at South Knoxville because they are wearing the temporary tape lines out from their big Thursday night pickleball play,” Browning said.

While the City provides pickleball equipment in the recreation centers, players using the outdoor courts will need to bring their own equipment.

To view a schedule for open play in a City recreation center or for more information on the sport of pickleball, please visit www.KnoxvilleAthletics.com.