Pickleball players looking for outdoor courts

Pickleball players at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center in Gardnerville. Lisa Coffron photo

Pickleball players at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center in Gardnerville. Lisa Coffron photo

Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in America, is becoming popular at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center, where players are looking to have outdoor courts built.

Pickleball player in Douglas County, Maria Falconieri believes that it is a sport for everyone.

“There is something that is really strangely addicting about it,” said Falconieri. “Every single person who I’ve known who has started playing has the same feeling. Anyone can play for starters. It doesn’t matter your physical look or physical limitations. Your age doesn’t matter. Anybody can play and it is easy to pick up.” 

Lisa Coffron and Falconieri are two pickleball players who said that they are passionate about making sure the courts get built in the next year to create more room for everyone to play. 

The courts have been talked about previously and got put into a five-year plan for the community center. 

“When you’re a senior citizen five years is five more years,” said Coffron.  We would like to get these courts done sooner than five years. That’s why we push to hopefully get them done next year.”

As of now, the players are using courts inside the center that are also used for basketball and volleyball. The pickleball players do not always have access to play as the courts may be taken up. 

They have over 100 people on their pickleball contact list ranging from their early 20s to early 80s. Right now, they normally only have access to two to three courts. Players say that they often have long wait times to be able to play. 

“This time of year, it’s very very crowded,” said Coffron. “The outdoor courts will accommodate the growing of people playing pickleball.”

Proponents are looking to put in four to six courts within the next year, but the community center has room to put in eight to 12 in total. The option that is being looked at is to put the courts on the southeast side of the center where the overflow parking lot is currently. Six courts allow for small tournament play. 

Having it near the community center makes it possible during tournament play for the players to be able to use the locker room and other center facilities.  

Both Coffron and Falconieri believe that having these courts will help the economy in Douglas County by having tournaments here along with pickleball clinics. 

“If we can get people here for tournaments, people need to stay in hotels. They need to eat in our restaurants, and they’ll need to shop in our stores,” said Coffron. 

The pickleball clinics can generate income to help pay for the courts as instructors rent out the courts to use them for the clinics to teach more people how to play pickleball. 

“There is a lot of ways to use them as fundraisers and to generate income even though it’s a public court that is free,” said Falconieri. 

A public meeting was held in late April to discuss the court location concepts along with the feasibility for the project and funding. Approximately 34 people were in attendance.  County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian was present along with four Pickleball Ambassadors.

Six pickleball courts being built has an estimated cost of over $1 million.  The funding resources for the pickleball courts will come from the Residential Construction Tax and Room Tax fund reserve dollars. 

With the push to get these courts done within the next year it is not only about the senior citizens, but the next generation of pickleball players.

“We want part of our legacy for Douglas County to be that we put these courts in for our youth who are going to be playing this sport,” Coffron said. “We have kids watching us out here. Someday they will be on these courts and outdoor on those courts. We want to get them done for our kids.”

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