Large turnout christens new pickleball courts in Madison for grand opening

By Chris Welch

MADISON – Temps were in the 40s at 8 Friday morning – definitely coat, hat and glove weather – but that didn’t stop a group of pickleball players from christening the newest courts in Madison.

Trista Niemann, Darren Field, Penny Lamb and Carrie Blair were some of the first to play on the 12 new courts at the grand opening of Madison’s Town Center. The group was there early for the grand opening at 9, joining a enthusiastic crowd of over 100 people who came to test drive the new facility. Along with a Round Robin pickleball mixer there were food trucks, including Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream handing out free samples, raffled prizes and pickleball skill games.

“We got there early to get some games in,” said Niemann, who took off the morning from work to play.
There are still a few bugs to worK out – directional signage to get to the facility on Graphic Way near Hexagon, numbers on the courts and straps to anchor down the nets – but otherwise the opening was a success.

That included the Facebook announcement from players Alice Yielding and Cathy Johnson the lights were on Friday night after city employees worked hard all day to get them going.

Mayor Paul Finley and Traci Gillespie, economics and external affairs officer for the city of Madison, and City Administrator Steve Smith dropped by the facility to check out the grand opening. Finley posed for pictures with several players and seemed pleased with the results.

David Bailey, who runs the popular Madison City Picklers Facebook page, posted his excitement about opening day.

“What an amazing turnout for the grand opening of our new Town Madison Pickleball Courts, Bailey said.  “The 12 brand new courts that can support 48 players were packed to the rim with people waiting to get on to play.

“A big thank you for those that made this possible: Mayor (Paul) Finley and all those at City of Madison for having the foresight, working the deals, and finding the budget for this effort; Madison Parks & Recreation for the hard work in getting the new courts put together in a timely fashion; C&G Pickleball Academy for taking the lead on the event and bringing a semblance of order to the chaos, had some great prizes and a very fun skills challenge; Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt and Happi Pappi for being there and providing something good to eat; our friends at Huntsville Pickleball Club for coming out and supporting as well; and last but definitely not least, each and every one of you, picklers, out there who just love and enjoy the game and the community that we are building, none of it would be possible without you.

“Hope you all had as much fun as I did, I look forward to catching you all out there.”

The hours for the courts are 7 a.m. -9 p.m. For more info go to www.madisonal.gov or Madison Parks & Recreation on Facebook.

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