Gladstone pickleball players fundraise for new complex

Pickleball players in Delta County need more courts dedicated to pickleball only.
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:38 PM EDT
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GLADSTONE, Mich. (WLUC) - Pickleball players in Delta County are only $1,000 away from having a new place to play next fall.

Currently, pickleball players have to wait to be swapped in to take their turn on one of the four courts next to Jones Elementary in Gladstone. That’s the only way everyone gets a chance to play.

The Gladstone pickleball group formed in 2021 and since then, membership has exploded, organizers said.

“Once we started, I mean, maybe we had 75 members,” said Richard Beauvais, Gladstone Area Pickleball board member. “Then, 100, now we’re maybe having 30 members.”

Pickleball players in Delta County need more courts dedicated to pickleball only, Beauvais said. That was why Gladstone Area Pickleball organized a crowdfunding campaign that began at the end of July.

Now, they only have $1,000 more to go to get a matching grant of $50,000. The matching grant would bring the group’s fundraising efforts to $365,000, which is the total amount needed for the project, and work could begin.

The pickleball complex would be located at the John and Melissa Besse Sports Park on North Bluff in Gladstone. Even with a budget they had to reduce once already, the complex would be something special, Beauvais said.

“I’ll call them state-of-the-art courts, in a sense,” he said. “I mean, they would rival the type of courts you see in Arizona, Florida.”

Group members said people don’t have to be a member to play, now or in the future, and everyone is welcome, even the youngsters.

“We are seeing younger and younger people, and our club itself has started to really see a lot of the younger population,” said Peggy Austin, a group member. “They’re good. They’re a lot quicker than us older people, of course!”

Pickleball originally became popular as a retirement activity. However, the sport has grown to 36 million participants in the U.S. and now includes players of all ages.

To learn more about how to help Gladstone Area Pickleball reach its fundraising goals, go to the group’s fundraising page.