A recent letter to the editor contains a number of misunderstandings.
Prior Lake’s new pickleball courts are being constructed by the City of Prior Lake, using funds collected from developers, not with state money, although state statute requires these funds be dedicated for use by Parks and Recreation. Although the Prior Lake Pickleball Club (PLPC) has advocated for the courts to be built, the courts will not belong to the club. They will be public courts, open to all who wish to play. The city reached out through several public meetings and community surveys to help determine that Prior Lake citizens want pickleball courts.
We do not beg for money. PLPC, at the behest of the city, is raising funds for amenities like benches, shade structures and fence-top guards that will benefit all of the public. We offer businesses the opportunity to donate at a level they are comfortable with. PLPC then provides a banner with business name/logo to be displayed at the courts in appreciation for supporting a healthy community. Voluntary donations from individuals, including club members, are also welcome.
The writer says pickleball is not a prominent sport, yet it is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. Communities surrounding Prior Lake have invested in dedicated pickleball courts because of resident requests. Our club alone has over 200 members and has grown every year since the club was formed in 2014. We share the tennis courts, where we have been playing, with everyone. Club member or not, if you show up, you are welcome to play.
The new pickleball courts project is far from being an “example of entertaining the wants of a wealthy free time few.” There is no cost for playing on the public courts. The sport is enjoyed not only by retirees, but by school-age players and people who work full-time, who come in the evenings and on weekends.
Unlike the football and baseball fields to which the writer referred, the Prior Lake courts will be used every day of the week weather permitting. Our schools teach pickleball in P.E. and the city plans to provide lessons for youngsters at some point. Pickleball is a sport in which youngsters and adults can successfully compete, playing either as partners or opponents.
If they choose, players may join the Prior Lake Pickleball Club for a few dollars to get extra social benefits, including summer picnics and an annual holiday party. Where else, for such a small price, can you have so much fun with great people, any time of day, seven days a week, and get healthy exercise doing it?
The pickleball community is very welcoming. We extend an invitation to the writer and everyone else to come and try it out. We’ll provide the paddles, balls, and lessons for your first pickleball experience. The experience won’t be your last. You’ll be hooked for life!