Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 9:21am
Garner Park Ribbon Cutting Scheduled for Thursday, September 15
Alder Tim Gruber, Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp along with the Madison Friends of Pickleball and the community will officially open the pickleball courts at Garner Park with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, September 15 at 5:30pm.
The conversion of the two tennis courts to six dedicated pickleball courts began a number of years ago with just a suggestion. In July 2011, Bill Dusso and 26 other pickleball players submitted a letter to the City of Madison Parks Division requesting dedicated pickleball courts in Madison Parks. The following spring a number of tennis courts were striped to include pickleball. Over the years, additional tennis courts were striped for pickleball as a number of players continued their quest for more pickleball courts, including dedicated courts within the Madison Parks system.
In January 2016, partial funding was approved by Madison Parks for dedicated pickleball courts and an additional $20,000 would be required in private funding for the project to proceed. Leading advocate, Joe Sokal said “in response to the collective voice of pickleball players in recent years, the City is now making a significant commitment toward providing dedicated pickleball courts.”
In the spring of 2016, Madison Friends of Pickleball was formed and quickly began raising the necessary funds in partnership with the Madison Parks Foundation. The group raised a little more than $44,000 from individual gifts and grants, with the most generous grant from the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation.
Garner Park tennis courts were selected and construction for the Tennis-to-Pickleball Court Conversion project began in July. The project involved partial removal, patchwork and sealing of the existing asphalt, removal of posts and fencing, installing a total of six pickleball nets/posts, new center dividing fence and gate, a total of 8 new benches plus color and striping to create six pickleball courts.
This project has created Madison’s first dedicated pickleball court complex. Pickleball is a blend of tennis, badminton and table tennis played with a small paddle and wiffle ball on a badminton-sized court. The Friends of Pickleball are providing event goers with a light refreshment and playing tips for those interested in trying the sport. Garner Park is located at 333 S. Rosa Road and is open daily 4:00am to 10:00pm.