Pickleball court officially opens in Hastings

Posted 5/23/24

Pickleball is quickly gaining in popularity. That’s obvious with a trip past the new courts at Roadside Park in Hastings. The Hastings Pickleball Association and the City of Hastings held a …

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Pickleball court officially opens in Hastings


Pickleball is quickly gaining in popularity. That’s obvious with a trip past the new courts at Roadside Park in Hastings.
The Hastings Pickleball Association and the City of Hastings held a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday morning to mark completion of the eight new courts. The project cost was about $395,000 paid for with city park dedication funds. Parks & Recreation Director Chris Jenkins said the project was completed in January, and people were able to play through the mild winter.
“The nets stayed up all winter. I think people played pickleball every month of the winter,” he said.
The courts are open to the public for play between 6 a.m.-11 p.m. with lights that can be activated after dusk. It’s a beehive of activity in the morning as community members and members of the Hastings Pickleball Associations pick up their paddles to play from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. daily. Play is open to the public. The city’s Parks & Recreation Department also offers pickleball leagues.
Mayor Mary Fasbender said the Hastings Pickleball Association’s persistence made the courts possible.
“I want to applaud you for your perseverance, from sitting in my office meeting with me or greeting me on the sidewalk. ‘We need pickleball courts, we need pickleball courts.’ They brought in sketches, and we finally listened,” she said. “We’re so proud we did that. I live not far from here. I hear ponging in the mornings if I’m on my deck drinking coffee. I hear the ponging at night. It makes me smile.”
Fasbender said it’s great to see people of all ages playing.
“As I drive by in the morning, it’s you,” she said gesturing towards the Pickleball Association leaders. “I don’t want to call you senior citizens because you move really good on those courts. At night when I drive by, I see young adults. Saturdays and Sundays, I see a mixture of people. That’s community, and that’s what we’re trying to build. That’s what you have helped us build. I appreciate it.”
Fasbender introduced Steve Black, Ron Toppin and Jane Scully of the Pickleball Association.
Black said pickleball started in Hastings in 2014 with some courts lined at the YMCA. He said there were about 27 participants in 2016 in the first Hastings Rivertown Days Pickleball Tournament.
“It’s not brand new to Hastings. It’s been going on about 10 years. There have been a lot of active participants, and the numbers have grown. A lot of players are thinking about playing pickleball in Hastings and the surrounding community,” said Black.
He said the game really picked up steam during the COVID pandemic when people were looking for outdoor activities.
“We persevered. We had a chance to get together and have fun, and it was a great release,” said Black.
He said the Parks & Recreation Department was a great partner in bringing the courts to fruition. The group made a presentation in 2021 to the Parks & Rec Commission.
“Back in the day after we talked, and we got more people playing, we thought the courts weren’t in the best shape. Nine of us got together in the driveways of somebody’s garage and said, ‘What can we do?’,” said Black. “Never did we run into an obstacle talking to the city people and Chris (Jenkins) and talking to Mary and city council people. Everybody was really open to it.”
The Hastings Pickleball Association is a tax-deductible organization and accepts donations for more amenities to the court. The group is looking at putting in benches and umbrellas near the courts. Check the Hastings Pickleball Association Facebook page for information on joining the group or donating. The group also received a Community Investment Fund grant from the City of Hastings.
The association also offered free lessons after the ribbon cutting and a clinic to offer tips to players, old and young.
“We’re going to have some fun and make some noise,” said Black. “It’ll be really fun to see everybody out here having fun and getting to meet some new people. There’s a lot of new faces. That’s great to see also.”