Bexley's Recreation Board voted unanimously Jan. 8 to authorize the Recreation and Parks Department to move forward with designing four pickleball courts at Jeffrey Park, 165 N. Parkview Ave.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, according to the USA Pickleball Association's website. Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court using a slightly modified tennis net.
The tentative location for the pickleball courts at Jeffrey Park is near the tennis courts in a section that measures about 60 feet by 120 feet and includes grass and at least one tree, said Michael Price, recreation director.
Although pickleball can be played on tennis courts, the sport's growing popularity has outgrown the availability of the tennis courts at Jeffrey Park, Price said.
A private donor has offered to contribute $100,000 to the estimated $150,000 total cost of building the pickleball courts, he said.
"We have had communication with the (Bexley) Community Foundation about possibly picking up the shortfall," Price said.
Moving forward with the pickleball courts will provide an additional amenity for the community at little or no cost to taxpayers, said board member Roger Carroll.
"I think the idea to cover the cost (with private donations) is a real asset to the community," Carroll said. "I think the imprint is minimal."
In response to board members' discussion at a Nov. 14 meeting about the courts' potential impact on greenspace at Jeffrey Park, Price said he has contacted Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks officials to assist with developing an overall plan for Jeffrey Park.
"Hopefully what also comes out of this is we kind of take a step back and start to think about the park as a whole and how we can preserve it, maintain it for many generations to come," Price said.
The designs for the pickleball courts will come back before the Recreation Board for final approval before construction begins, Price said.
Also at the Jan. 8 meeting, the board voted unanimously for Lindsay Hodge to serve as chairwoman, replacing former president Cindy Phillips; for Carroll to succeed Hodge as vice chairman; and welcomed new member Jason Williams. The other members are Ann Brennan, Will O'Brien, Gwen Verhoff and Mike Denison, who serves as the Bexley City School District's liaison to the group.