A project to add a dozen extra pickleball courts to an existing six-court facility hopes to address the soaring demand for court space in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin.
“This will be the single biggest pickleball facility in the state of Wisconsin and Minnesota (for an) outdoor facility,” highlighted Greg Helgeson, President of the Chippewa Valley Pickleball Club, during the groundbreaking ceremony marking the commencement of construction.
A Steady Rise
Pickleball’s popularity is on a steady rise within the Chippewa Valley. Helgeson talked about this growth, telling Michelle Stangler of weau.com, “Pickleball has grown so much here in the Chippewa Valley. It was just a few years ago when we had about 150 members in our club. Now, we’re approaching 500 members.
“So our mission is to grow and promote the sport of pickleball in the Chippewa Valley, so we’re doing just that in this complex.”
The six existing courts, now converted into pickleball courts, were initially tennis courts. Gary Spilde, President of Lake Hallie Village, reminisced, “This (pointing to the courts) was originally some tennis courts, and little over a year ago, the pickleball club and the village got together, and we provided some funds.”
“Six Courts Isn’t Nearly Enough”
Bill Bethke, one of the managers overseeing the pickleball expansion, emphasized, “Six courts isn’t nearly enough because pickleball, as you know, is the fastest growing sport in America for both youth as well as the over 50 crowd.”
Among the 12 new courts, the southern six will be equipped with lights, “which will be nice for the people that work so they can play after the sunset,” Bethke pointed out.
The expansion project, collectively funded at approximately $350,000 by the village, Chippewa Valley Pickleball Club, and various individuals and local businesses, aims to draw tournaments and players from around the nation.
Tournament In August?
Bethke talked about how the future could mean an imminent tournament in August and increased tourism revenue: “Bringing in tournaments and players from all over the country brings in a lot of revenue.
“With that, the hotels, the restaurants, and people just seeing the beauty of Chippewa Valley will open up other opportunities, and tourism dollars will be well received by the area.”
Helgeson emphasized the sport of pickleball boasts numerous benefits across age groups, “We just want people to enjoy pickleball, not only for its physical benefits and active aging for older people, but the social benefits are terrific where you can meet people, play a game, rotate in and out and get to meet so many people,”
Additional Expansion Planned
Weather permitting, the courts will open to the public free of charge in July. Plans for a potential phase two involve additional amenities such as bathrooms and a park pavilion contingent upon funding availability.
Overall, the expansion will bring the number of pickleball courts in the Eau Claire area up to 39!
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?