A five-person committee of Bexley residents will guide the city through the process of designing four new pickleball courts at Jeffrey Mansion and Park, 165 N. Parkview Ave.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong, according to the USA Pickleball Association's website, usapa.org. Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court using a slightly modified tennis net.
Michael Price, director of the Bexley Recreation and Parks Department, said the committee includes residents who are pickleball enthusiasts and have been involved in the fundraising process.
They are Jerry Guy, Annette Kuss, Bob Macklin, David Seckel and Barb Weber.
Since the committee members have played pickleball for years, they will help the city with design concepts by researching facilities in other communities, Price said.
"They can bring back thoughts, concepts they've seen at other pickleball courts around the country," he said. "They're going to bring their expertise, their ideas."
The tentative location for the pickleball courts at Jeffrey Park is an area near the tennis courts that measures about 60 by 120 feet and includes grass and at least one tree, Price said.
A private donor has offered to contribute $100,000 to the estimated $150,000 total cost of building the courts, with the remainder to be raised through private donations, he said.
The recreation department projects that the cost will cover resurfacing of the site's tennis courts, which host pickleball games when not in use for tennis.
The department has not yet established a timeline for when the new pickleball courts will be constructed, Price said.
Macklin said he's been playing pickleball for nearly three years and has seen the demand steadily increase over the past few years.
Each pickleball court can accommodate four people who play in teams of two.
"If you have 12 people playing, we probably had 28 people there" waiting for a court to open up, Macklin said.
"We have at least as many people sitting waiting to play as there are playing. ... There's probably not a week that goes by that I don't see a new face."
Macklin said he has played pickleball at Jeffrey Park; a court at Maryland Avenue Elementary School and at several courts in and around Bexley and east Columbus, including the Wolfe Park tennis courts on East Broad Street and the Driving Park Community Recreation Center on Rhoads Avenue.