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City to add six pickleball courts at Patton Park

Extolling the virtues of the smaller court sport, pickleball players on Thursday night urged the Hendersonville City Council to focus on courts for the fast-growing sport at Patton Park.

Two and a half hours later, the council voted to accept a staff recommendation to add two tennis courts and six pickleball courts at Patton Park and explore the possibility of converting a softball field into a dog park. The matter has been before the council for several months because two tennis courts at Boyd Park will be removed for the new Fire Station 1.

Al Jones, a pickleball player for two years, said the phenomenal growth of the sport suggests that the city should act now to accommodate players, many of them retirees.

"You guys all in your 30s and 40," he said. "Pickleball players are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s and we need something to do and we play a lot of pickleball. It keeps us in shape and it keeps us out of med facilities and we all love playing pickleball. In eight years they say there are going to be 40 million people playing pickleball. It's not going to go away. We'd love to have your support."

One player urged the council "to think really big and see if there's any possibility" to partner with Henderson County on a pickleball complex. 

And another said a pickleball complex would pay off.

"I think you can attract a lot of good investment," she said. "How about Apple Fest? How about an apple and pickle tournament? Think of the income for local merchants, restaurants and hotels, etc. I think it's a great financial and physical (fitness) investment."