Two-year Grassroots Effort Leads to Jefferson County Open Space Funding for Outdoor Pickleball Courts

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The popular, growing sport of pickleball will soon have home courts in Arvada, thanks to “Pickleball Ken” Marquardt, hundreds of friends and supporters, and lots of hard work and enthusiasm.

Pickleball is played with a paddle and wiffle ball, over a net, and combines the rules of ping pong and badminton. In autumn 2011, Ken brought the game to the Apex Center, collaborating with Mike Miles, Apex PRD Executive Director, and the Apex Center staff to build participants and enthusiasm. At first, a few players came to play two days a week. Interest built quickly, and soon the program expanded to include multiple day activities and nearly 200 players each week.

In summer 2012, Ken and Mike put forth a plan to build outdoor pickleball courts near the Apex Simms Street Center, 11706 W. 82nd Ave. in Arvada, and the board approved the plans in September. Then the job of fund-raising began. Players raised $5,300 toward the project through a tournament, and the Apex PRD Foundation matched those funds. Then the group took the momentum forward by applying for Jefferson County Open Space funding. In January 2013, the Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee designated $158,720 to build the courts.

Ground-breaking is slated for spring 2013, with an opening date in fall 2013. The project includes eight courts and spectator seating. Speaking on behalf of the pickleball community, Ken said “We will have a great surface to play pickleball on and of course just a great place for people of all ages, young or old to play, have fun and even get some good exercise! Please join us!”