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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

New pickleball facility coming in Coeur d’Alene

The courts were full and the balls were flying at the Comstock Sport Courts on May 15. Jim Mason, right, and teammate Stacey Huff, center, compete with a group that gathers most weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Soon, the group will have more options in the region when a new pickleball court goes live in Coeur d’Alene.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

For five years, pickleballers have been volleying negotiations with the City of Coeur d’Alene for more courts.

Earlier this month, the Inland Northwest Pickleball Club took the advantage.

“The city didn’t really have enough money to do the projects that we wanted, but we knew we needed more pickleball courts in the area,” said Craig Woolf, president of the pickleball nonprofit. “So the club stepped up.”

The organization raises money through membership fees and hosting tournaments, Woolf said. This month, the group announced it secured private funds for what Woolf called the “biggest facility in the Northwest.”

“The club has done pretty good raising money over the years,” he said.

“Our first tournament was in 2014 when we were just forming, and we’ve been putting aside money for a good project for a while.”

Cherry Hill Park will soon boast 12 permanent outdoor pickleball courts. Woolf said work will include converting four of the six existing tennis courts at 1718 N. 15th St.

“I want to be polite to the tennis people, but the courts were very rarely being used,” he said. “That’s the bottom line of it.”

The revamped space will be called the Parker Subaru Pickleball Courts, after the car dealership that donated $85,000 to the cause.

The sum will only cover a portion of the work, though. Woolf estimated the conversion will cost around $180,000.

“The cost of these things just keeps going,” he said. “We were originally talking with the city about building six standalone pickleball courts, but it was going to be about half a million dollars.

“This is far cheaper for more courts.”

Work is underway.

Woolf said holes have been drilled and concrete was poured to bear the poles that will support the net.

Next, workers will erect fencing between each court, surround the area with a windscreen, touch up the playing surface with an acrylic material and repaint, he said.

Unlike other outdoor courts in the area, the dozen at Cherry Hill will stay up all summer and be free and accessible to anyone with a paddle.

Other places, like courts at Comstock Park on the South Hill, are more temporary. There, players access nets by entering a code into a lock box, according to previous Spokesman-Review reports.

“They’ll be just like tennis courts, except of course they are pickleball courts,” Woolf said.

“They will be up all summer until the first snow flies. Then they’ll come down.”

The new facility will host one of the organization’s biggest events of the year, The Coeur d’Alene Classic, held July 11-14.

“We have about 440 people already signed up from 20 states,” he said. “So it’s a pretty big deal.”

Membership with the Inland Northwest Pickleball Club starts at $30.

Fees go to project like that at Cherry Hill Park and also to maintenance work the group performs on the courts in the area.

Woolf said membership has reached 500 people.

“No matter where you go, it’s a very welcoming community,” he said. “I’ve played in 10 states already; I know when I put my paddle up, I have friends already.”