CIRCLEVILLE — There’s a new game in town with the Pickaway County Pickleball Association as they now have a pair of courts at Barthelmas Park to play at.
Pickleball is a paddle-ball sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, much like a wiffle ball, with 26–40 round holes, over a net.
The group last month visited Circleville City Council to make a request to have a court inside one of the parks and after discussions with the administration, took over one of the two basketball courts at Barthelmas Park. The court was repaved and painted through donations to the city.
Julie Strawser, co-president of the Pickaway County Pickleball Association, said they partnered with the Pickaway County Community Foundation to create a fund to help pay for improvements like the renovations of the court at Bartelmas Park.
“We just put on the check memo, ‘Pickleball,’ and it goes into an account,” she said. “We’ve had private donations and a $1,000 donation from Circleville Girls’ Softball and we’ve had great support from the mayor and service director and the Pickaway County Parks District and Parks Board.”
Shubert Tennis LLC won the bid on the project. While courts are many different colors, Strawser said they wanted to go with a two-color green and blue scheme. As of now, a total of eight players can play at one time.
“They got the court done so we’d have a month or so of play before winter gets here this year,” she said. “This look is more standard and we wanted a more natural look. We’ve got the courts going north-south, which is important for winds.”
Strawser said they’re planning on growing the sport locally and already have some high school students involved. They also play inside at the YMCA. The courts, as it stands, now don’t have any permanent nets, but they plan to build some as interest grows.
“We’re going to go in after Pumpkin Show and present pickleball to eighth grade for four days and to the advanced P.E. class for four days,” she said. “We’re trying to build interest and we’re going to offer the girls’ softball a time when they can come play. We’re trying to be good emissaries for the sport and bring it to Pickaway County.”
Out in Williamsport, Kay Swaney said they’re putting down tape to have temporary courts inside the gym at Community Square Park.
“I was hoping that we could paint some lines out in the parking lot and leave it at that, but it wouldn’t work because it would tear up the balls,” Swaney said. “So we’re putting down the masking tape in the gym to have an introductory thing and see how it goes.”
Strawser said the group plans to continue to fundraise for more courts, including working to get some courts in other parts of Pickaway County.
“Our long-term goal is to put in two more permanent courts in and get them fenced and put in permanent nets,” she said. “This was our short-term goal — to get two courts — and we’ve got that going. We’ve got a committed group of people to work on our long-term goals.”