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As 'pickleball' grows in popularity, E.P. Tom Sawyer Park adds 16 new courts

Six tennis courts were converted to 16 pickleball courts where fans can enjoy public games, tournaments, lessons, camps and activities related to the sport.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s largest pickleball complex has opened in Louisville to much fanfare.

The grand opening celebration was held Saturday at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

Six tennis courts were converted to 16 pickleball courts where fans can enjoy public games, tournaments, lessons, camps and activities related to the sport.

Pickleball, a hybrid of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, is the fastest-growing sport in the US, according to the Economist which cites date from the Sport & Fitness Industry Association.

"We're pleased to add this new outdoor pickleball complex to the great variety of recreation facilities offered at Kentucky State Parks," Department of Parks Commissioner Russ Meyer said in a statement. "The pickleball complex at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park is yet another example of how we have invested wisely in a recreation project that will get much use."

The courts were paid for by funding allocated by the Kentucky General Assembly and was sponsored by state Senator Julie Raque Adams, whose district includes Tom Sawyer State Park.

Credit: Carol Timmons
State Senator Julie Raque Adams speaks during the grand opening of the pickleball courts at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville on July 17, 2021

"I'm a pickleball player and tennis player myself. I know firsthand what a great sport pickleball is and how popular it has become," Adams said. "It made so much sense to provide a facility like this to address the growing demand for courts. And the fact that the facility at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park is large enough to host regional tournaments will pay off handsomely. The economic impact of tourism dollars will cover the cost of this investment in no time."

Work started on the project in May and June with the finishing touches done in July.

How did pickleball get its name?

The Economist says the game was born after a family dog name Pickle kept running away with the ball while three families in Washington state were playing the game.

It has been around since 1965.

Credit: Carol Timmons
Players enjoy a game of pickleball at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville on July 17, 2021.

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