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City discusses possibility of permanent pickleball courts

By Meg Dickens
Freelance Writer

Pickleball has continued to grow in popularity in the Johnson County area ever since it became more openly available to the public. People of all ages have come out to Cunningham Park to play the sport ever since the Hometown Service Coalition (HSC) officially opened the multi-use courts on November 5, 2021, with help from the Johnson County Community Foundation and Operation Pocket Change. With the noted swell in popularity, officials are now discussing making a permanent pickleball court.

As most people are aware, the current site is being used as a placeholder until funds become available to finish the long-term tennis court revitalization project. Both HSC and City Mayor Jerry Jordan acknowledged this fact during a previous interview. With how beloved the current courts are, the Town of Mountain City may take steps to preserve local play.

“Pickleball, it’s become very, very popular,” Jordan acknowledged. “You know, there have been more and more people playing. I think a lot of people would like for us to have a permanent court.”

The current location is not an option. According to officials, there is no room to add another court area with the current equipment. The playground updates have continued this past, which were reportedly on hold for a short period because of worker quarantine. For those unaware, this new equipment had to be placed away from the historic tree’s canopy for safety reasons, which further limits what land can be used.

With the lack of space at Cunningham Park in mind, Jordan suggested setting up a permanent court in Ralph Stout Park. Officials had considered putting a football field in at some point, and Jordan now says that the site for that uncompleted project could be ideal for pickleball.

At this point, there is no plan set in stone. There is, however, intent to move forward. Jordan brought up the idea himself and has previously discussed how much traffic the current pickleball fields bring. The question is whether support and funding can be garnered.

“I’m going to try and pursue whatever we can do to get a permanent court at Ralph Stout Park,” Jordan claimed during the city’s most recent meeting.

The Mountain City Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month at City Hall at 6:30 pm. For more information on city government, visit mountaincitytn.org.