Pickleball is more popular than ever, and Greenwood residents will soon have another place to play the sport.
The city of Greenwood is planning to build a 16-court pickleball complex at Freedom Park on the city’s west side. The 16 courts will be located in a bank of four on a flat, grassy area to the immediate north of Freedom Springs Aquatic Park, said Rob Taggart, parks and recreation executive director.
“It will be the largest complex here in Johnson County. It’ll be one of the largest singular complexes really around this area,” Taggart said.
As part of the project, the parks department will also expand the northern parking lot to the west, adding 120 additional spots. This will put it in line with the size of the new complex, documents show.
The Freedom Park Pickleball Complex will cost a little over $1.3 million, with $950,000 being paid for out of tax incremental financing, or TIF, funds. The parks department committed another $500,000, with remaining costs likely being paid for with grants or other funding opportunities should shortfalls occur, Taggart said.
The parks department decided to place the complex at Freedom Park because of its proximity to nearby utilities and to another parks facility — Freedom Springs. Pickleball players typically like to play early in the morning, when it’s cooler, which works out well for Freedom Springs, he said.
“When it starts heating up — and we get a lot of that patron load at Freedom Springs — a lot of the pickleball players (will) have probably stopped playing for that morning session, and then the parking would certainly free up for the Freedom Springs patrons,” Taggart said.
Adding additional pickleball courts will also address increasing demand. Pickleball is growing extremely fast both locally and nationally, and adding more courts is the city’s way of embracing it, Taggart said.
Greenwood already has seven pickleball courts at Craig Park, four at the Greenwood Fieldhouse and four courts at the Community Center, he said. The Freedom Park Pickleball Complex will bring the total number of pickleball courts at city park facilities to 24.
Having a 16-court facility also opens up a new opportunity for the city: pickleball tournaments. Sixteen is the number of courts needed to run a properly sanctioned tournament, which could bring more visitors and money into the city and local businesses, he said.
This is something the city is looking forward to, Taggart said.
“We look forward to hosting what opportunity the courts allow us to do — hosting lots of tournaments,” he said.
Officials hope to have the facility open and operating sometime next year, with the hope of opening it early next year. This could be subject to change, Taggart said.
“Our ambition is and our intention is to get this thing opened up early next year so that a lot of the Greenwood residents and local pickleball players can take advantage of the new facility,” he said.
The project is an exciting one for the city, Taggart said.
“We got a really strong pickleball community here in Greenwood, and this is a great way to continue the growth of it and nurture its growth,” he said.