MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. (WFIE) - One of the fastest-growing sports in the United States has a brand new complex at the Mount Carmel City Park.
The $350,000 pickleball courts are nearing completion in preparation for Thursday’s soft open.
Pickleball is a cross between tennis and ping-pong and is played with a whiffle ball.
“This would just be one more outdoor activity for the families and community members to enjoy in our area,” said David Miller, vice president of the Mount Carmel Pickleball Club.
The idea for these courts started a few years ago, but after donations from nearly 100 people and organizations in the community, the first-class courts have been almost all privately funded.
Officials say $200,000 has been raised to date, with more commitments on the way.
The City of Mount Carmel did assist in the project, according to club leaders, in terms of helping with a parking lot, the lease of the land and utilities.
“100 percent of the money has been raised privately, and we are extremely proud of that,” said Rob Coleman, treasurer of the Mount Carmel Pickleball Club.
Organizers say the community-focus was the driving force behind this project.
“The ability to play with different people,” Coleman said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever played two games with the same partner. It’s just a great place to socialize, to get to know people better, and to bond in the community.”
Fencing and wind curtains will finalize the construction of the courts, which will have dedicated public playing time.
The Mount Carmel Pickleball Club will host the grand opening of the courts in July.
“It’s for all age groups in this community,” said Rick Andrews, the visionary behind the courts. “Everyone can play.”
For more information, visit the Mount Carmel Pickleball Club’s Facebook page.