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Pickleball players get courts reopened

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

Fans of the game Pickleball served up their proposal, and the Shelbyville Parks & Recreation Department board returned it.

Courts on which to play the tennis-like game will be reopened at Morrison Park, 801 S. West St.

A group of 10 people came to the parks board meeting late Wednesday afternoon to petition the board to give them access to the courts as needed.

“We play on Thursdays, most of us,” said Larry Lux, and also on Mondays and Wednesdays.

If people had been there playing, the parks department’s truck might not have been stolen, he joked.

The parks department has a garage at Morrison Park near the courts; an old parks truck was stolen from the site recently and recovered on Tuesday.

Karen Martin, director of the parks department, noted that they tried establishing Pickleball as a regular sport after a group came to the board last year saying they could get lots of people playing.

“We bought all this equipment; we tried it,” she said, but there just wasn’t the interest.

Members of the group that came to the board, including Dep Ewing, Kim Owens, Denny Ramsey, and Mike Vaught, said they played Pickleball regularly.

Lux said they sometimes go out to eat together after. The game is for all ages, said Vaught.

“Pickleball is not for old people,” he said.

Board member Terie Anderson suggested holding a tournament to boost awareness and interest in the game, and the board and players were receptive to that idea.

After more discussion, the parks board agreed to reopen the four Pickleball courts at Morrison Park. The players will pay $30 per year per family for an electronic key fob to open the gates to the courts.

There was no firm date for reopening the Morrison Park courts. A fence was damaged in the truck theft, and the board’s approval depends on the insurance company giving the OK.

In other matters, the parks board heard from director Martin the latest on the planned “bark park” for dogs.

A group from Leadership Shelby County, the project-based program run by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce to develop new community leaders, wanted to put the park at a site on River Road and Tompkins Street.

However, that land had been contaminated, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has not released it for use.

Martin said the five LSC dog park group members developed a scoring system that each used individually to rank alternative locations: Blue River Memorial Park, Clearwick Park, Kennedy Park, Morrison Park and Sunset Park. 

The cumulative rankings for each park were close and no decision has been made.

“If they do it at Blue River, one thing that’s lacking is a shade structure,” Martin noted.

Also, the parks board voted to clarify the policy on signs allowed at the city’s parks. Political signs are not allowed in any of the parks, the board decided.

The board also voted to allow only legally established nonprofit organizations to hold fundraising events at the parks.

In addition, the parks board voted to end the interlocal agreement with county government to purchase the land for the Blue River Memorial Park since the property is now paid for.

And Trish Tackett, recreation director at the parks department, said tickets are still available for the Wine & Canvas event on Sept. 21 at Blue River Memorial Park, 725 Lee Blvd.

“We have six spots open,” she said, as of Wednesday evening.

The cost includes wine and cheese and fruit refreshments, plus supplies for the painting lesson.

For more information, contact the parks department at 317-392-5128.


Founded on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle in 1965 by three dads for their “bored” kids.

Name likely came from a family dog named Pickles who would chase the ball.

Played with solid paddles, a bit larger than a ping-pong paddle, and a plastic ball with holes.

Court - 20x44 feet 


n Left & right service areas

n Non-volley areas close to net

Net height:

n 34 inches at middle

n 36 inches at ends

Gained national exposure from a 1975 article in the The National Observer, and a 1976 article in Tennis magazine.

In 1984, USAPA - United States of America Pickleball Association - formed and rulebook published.

First national pickleball tournament was held in Arizona in November 2009.

Today, there are nearly 4,000 places to play.

Source: www.usapa.org