EUGENE, Ore. - The sport of pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States and gaining popularity locally, but facilities where it can be played are still limited. A new complex being built by the Emerald Valley Pickleball Club, Emerald Valley Pickleball Foundation and Lane Community College aims to help fix that.
Representatives announced plans Wednesday to build the region’s largest pickleball complex. Construction and development of approximately 24 courts, along with lighting, restrooms and storage, will begin in June 2024 on land immediately to the east of the LCC baseball field near the intersection of 30th Avenue and Eldon Schafer Drive.
“We are grateful for the partnership with LCC, and this location provides wonderful access for players throughout the community and region”, said Eric Wold, President of the Emerald Valley Pickleball Club. “Pickleball has grown so much because of its ability to bring diverse groups together for fun, connection, and physical activity,” continued Wold.
When the courts are built, they will be open and free to use by the public. The project will be funded through a combination of public and private funds. The Emerald Valley Pickleball Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is leading the effort to raise funds for the facility.
“This is such an important milestone for our community, and we are excited about the public-private partnership aspect that is making this possible,” said Alicia Hays, President of the Emerald Valley Pickleball Foundation.
“We are thrilled to welcome pickleball to Lane Community College,” said Lisa Fragala, chair of the LCC Board of Education.
Management and operation of the facility will be done by the Emerald Valley Pickleball Club. Funding for maintenance of the facility will be coordinated among the Emerald Valley Pickleball Club and the Emerald Valley Pickleball Foundation. The facility will be owned by Lane Community College.
Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It can be played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Two or four players can play with simple equipment that involves paddles and a plastic ball with holes.
When open, the Emerald Valley Pickleball Club plans to host drop-in play, leagues, clinics, lessons, and tournaments at the complex. The Club will also co-sponsor or rent the venue for large regional and national tournaments, something organizers predict will result in a positive economic impact for the community.
Emerald Valley Pickleball Club
Lane Community College educates over 25,000 students annually at six locations across Lane County and online. Students and alumni from all 50 states and 79 countries create more than an $850 million dollar impact on the local economy, helping to support more than 13,000 local jobs. Lane provides affordable, quality, professional technical and college transfer programs; business development and employee training; academic, language and life skills development; and lifelong personal development and enrichment courses.