Vandalia embraces growing pickleball craze

VANDALIA, Ohio (WDTN) – The city’s recreation department here wanted to get ahead of the latest fitness trend.

Tuesday, Helke Park dedicated its first outdoor pickleball courts during an inaugural tournament.

The increasingly popular paddle sport combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and is played with a wiffle ball on a badminton-sized court with modified tennis nets.

Recently, Vandalia has seen a surge in the sport and its recreation center hosts a league with dozens of participants.

Self-described unofficial pickleball coordinator Michael Seaman said, “Pickleball is growing by leaps and bounds across the country. It’s the fastest growing sport in the country. It’s the same thing here. There’s lots of people playing everyday.”

To accommodate the growing demand for court time and improve some dilapidated and underused tennis courts at Helke Park, the city council approved $25,000 for renovations.

Vandalia unveiled 8 newly resurfaced pickleball courts Tuesday before 32 participants played several rounds of doubles games.

Seaman said the sport has been especially popular with older adults looking for an alternative to high impact sports.

“Many older adults aren’t able to go out and play the rough basketball, the tennis and move around,” Seaman said. “Whereas the courts are smaller here. There’s not as much movement, but you definitely get in a good sweat.”

The city’s recreation department said it’s pleased with the decision to capitalize on the growing trend.

Recreation superintendent Jeff Kreill said, “To get people to our parks and living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying the things they do in our community is very valuable to us.”

The new courts at Helke Park will be open to the public. To obtain the combination for the lock to access these courts, please contact the Recreation Center Front Desk at 937-415-2340.  You can find more information here.

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