Ely Community Ed resurfaces pickleball courts

What is Pickleball? Pickleball is a paddle sport that was established 50 years ago. It’s the fastest-growing sport in the USA. It is ping pong meets tennis on a badminton court.
Ely has had the popular sport since 2011. It has grown from a dozen players to 80 players that signed up for Ely Community Education’s Summer Pickleball program.
Ely Pickleball players have formed the Ely Pickleball Club. The club organizes events and holds fundraisers, they also take care of the courts. The club also provides instructors for the introduction to pickleball classes, which are run several times a year.
Pickleball is very popular in Minnesota and is growing very quickly. There is a statewide trend in building tennis courts into Pickleball courts.
Pickleball courts are being developed in small towns, suburbs, and large cities across the U.S. From Redondo Beach, Calif., to Lincoln, Nebraska.
In the last few years, pickleball courts are being built all over Minnesota. Eden Prairie, Lakeville, White Bear Lake, Bloomington, and St. Louis Park have all developed pickleball courts within the last few years.
In Mankato, a 27,000 square foot facility is being built with eight courts called the Picklebarn. Mankato has 250 members in their pickleball club.
There is also a national trend in refurbishing old warehouses, unused gyms, and former big-box department stores with pickleball courts.
In the cities, Minneapolis Cider, a craft cidery and taproom in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood, has added several inside Pickleball Courts. Nationally, USA Pickleball Association estimates there are more than 5 million players - a 34% increase since 2017.
Ely has had courts for several years after refurbishing the old weed overgrown high school tennis courts. The exciting news is that the courts have a new life.
Through the hard work of volunteers who planned the resurfacing project and established a group of players that worked on the courts.
On Friday, June 17, the Ely Fire Department pressure washed the courts which cleared the way for the first step in the resurfacing process.
The “Pickleball Resurfacing Crew” took the first step by applying the sealant “leveler” coat. This leveler is engineered to fill in uneven surfaces and leave a very smooth playing surface.
For the next step, the crew used a special court resurfacing product that features 100% acrylic resin that ensures long-term protection from all the elements and maximum resistance to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet degradation. Durability was a key objective of the project. MasterSeal manufactures the product out of Ohio.
After the leveler, the crew measured and re-measured the courts playing dimensions before tackling the next steps to complete the courts.
The crew used the acrylic resin to add the USA Pickleball Association regulated court’s playing dimensions.
During the week the “crew” worked quickly, but carefully between rainstorms, heat, and wind. The final step was painting the white lines of the courts. The new courts provide an excellent playing surface that is designed for court play.
The newly resurfaced courts were first played on Monday, June 27. Players had positive remarks about the resurfaced courts. They were able to grip better, and the boldly defined play areas were a great addition to games. The resurfacing project has improved overall play as well.
The resurfacing will serve the growing Community Education Pickleball Program for years to come. Thanks to all who helped on this major undertaking.
Mary Mills took the lead in ordering the supplies and keeping track of the project’s progress. Halen Lundstrom headed up the planning and organizing of the “resurfacing crew.”
The volunteer Resurfacing Crew members are Craig Seydel, Jon Moe, Mike Magnine, Ed Finnegan, Matt Oberhelm, John Mills, Don Hedin, Ted Schlosser, Dennis Burns and Jeff Le Master.
For more information on pickleball or other Ely Community Education Classes, go to elyclass.com.