BY MIKE NOLTING
Outdoor pickleball courts are coming to Mylan Park thanks to a donation from a partnership of local enthusiasts.
President and CEO of Visit Mountaineer Country Convention and Visitors Bureau Susan Riddle welcomed the announcement as pickleballers arrived for the 2023 West Virginia State Pickleball Championship.
The Morgantown Pickleball Club has announced a name change to the Mylan Park Pickleball Club and has started a fundraising campaign for outdoor pickleball courts at Mylan Park.
“They have banded together and are working with our foundation leadership in order to put it on outdoor pickleball courts,” Riddle said.
The donation of about $6,000 is seed money to start the project and garner interest from others who will donate to the effort. The new courts are expected to be completed sometime in 2024.
“More individuals will be in support of what we’re doing to advance the pickleball community here,” Riddle said.
Pickleball is a hybrid mix of tennis, ping pong, and badminton that nearly 9 million people were playing in 2022, and the numbers continue to climb. Statistics show the average pickleball player is 35 years old and there are more than 50,000 courts nationwide, with a demand for 25,000 more.
“I know outdoor pickleball courts are something that is seriously in demand; all pickleball courts are in high demand, but outdoor courts are definitely in high demand,” Riddle said. “So, we’re excited.
A report from the Association of Pickleball Professionals estimates more than 36 million people played the sport at least once between August 2021 and August 2022. The group forecasts that the growing popularity will spread to the high school and college ranks in the coming years.
“I have to tell you, pickleball enthusiasts, the word enthusiast doesn’t do them justice; I’m going to be perfectly honest,” Riddle said. “I’ve been to a couple pickleball tournaments and gone to other facilities to see how they do it.”
Riddle said, like all other Mylan Park projects, this one does not use any taxpayer funds. The addition will build on other major events held at the facility, increasing the number of new and repeat visitors to Monongalia County.
“Next to WVU bringing people consistently through town, Mylan Park has thousands of people that are a constant stream to north-central West Virginia.”