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The city of Cambridge and the Cambridge Area Pickleball Association celebrated a partnership that created four more pickleball courts at Central Green Park as part of festivities that took place on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
The city first created several pickleball courts on that site in 2015. In June 2019 the city started working with the association to add four more courts on the site as part of a 2020 city street project, provided the association paid for 25% of the project, which was estimated to cost $80,000.
Cambridge Area Pickleball Association president Mike Mueller said the association reached its fundraising goal thanks to support from a number of individuals, as well as Standford, Springvale, Isanti and Cambridge townships. The Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation also supported the fundraising drive.
“The response was incredible from people coming together to do something that would benefit everyone in the community,” Mueller said.
On Feb. 13, the association presented the city with a check for $20,000 to pay for the courts, which were built last summer and completed in October. The association raised more than $26,000 and has spent the remaining $6,000 on amenities such as wind screens, benches and awnings that are over the benches.
Mueller said an anonymous donor will purchase six more of the cabana awnings to cover all of the benches at the court.
At Tuesday’s event, Mueller presented Cambridge Mayor Jim Godfrey and Lowell Becker, chairman of the Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation, with a plaque to honor their work to create the courts.
“We’re honored to have been invited to this, and I think you’re giving us way too much credit,” Godfrey said. “I’m all about following good ideas, and this a good idea because it’s a healthy activity, healthy socialization, that takes place outdoors in a safe environment.”
Becker agreed, adding: “To see these facilities is heart-warming. We’re proud of this community and the hard work of everyone to bring this together.”
Pickleball is a racquet sport that involves two or four players using solid paddles hitting a perforated ball, similar to a whiffle ball, over a net. The court size is similar to badminton, with the game play similar to tennis, but with modifications.
Currently the Cambridge Area Pickleball Association has 221 members who play on the courts each morning through October, when the play moves indoors to the Cambridge Armed Forces and Community Center until the courts again are available in the spring. The association also has helped sponsor pickleball leagues that play on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer.