Municipality seeks funding to build new pickleball courts in Chatham-Kent

A woman playing pickleball. January 24, 2017. (Photo by Ron B from flickr)

With the popularity of pickleball increasing, municipal officials are feeling the demand to build more courts dedicated to the sport.

On Monday, municipal council voted unanimously to apply for government funding to construct up to five new pickleball courts at existing parks in Chatham-Kent.

If the municipality were to receive the grant, Chatham-Kent would be required to pay up to 20 per cent of the cost of the project, which could cost up to $125,000.

“We believe the addition of pickleball courts would enhance each community and park they are located for users of all ages, skill levels, and physical ability,” the proposal read. “Specific locations for the courts will be determined based on community need and suitability.”

While the proposal was up for discussion, Councillor Anthony Ceccacci suggested that staff take time with the application and look into additional funding for existing courts.

However, Chatham-Kent General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering Thomas Kelly said the deadline for the application is September 29 and that he hoped for approval Monday night.

He followed that up by suggesting the proposal be approved and then the matter be revisited at the next municipal meeting on September 27.

“If applicable, consideration will be given to applying for incremental investment at existing pickleball courts in Chatham-Kent,” Kelly said.

President of Chatham-Kent Pickleball Club Keith Baxter said he travels to London, Sarnia, and Windsor to play pickleball.

“It’s kind of a desperation thing I guess, it’s just finding good places to play that are dedicated to pickleball,” said Baxter. “On the indoor facilities, you’ve got painted lines over painted lines, which can be a little rough sometimes.”

Baxter said Pickleball can be played indoors at the St. Clair College Health Plex and the Wish Centre and outdoors at the John McGregor tennis court in Chatham, adding that there are other places to play in outlying communities.

“It’s nice to hear they’re [council] going to do something,” said Baxter.

The Chatham-Kent Pickleball Club has grown from 40 members to 100 members since 2019.