Residents of Syracuse are coming together and working with the Syracuse City Council to bring pickleball courts to the city. The goal is to bring eight courts to Founders Park that will be outdoors and open year round.
Pickleball is a sport that is a mix between tennis and ping pong. The court resembles a mini tennis court, but instead of rackets, it is played with a ping pong type paddle. The ball looks like a wiffleball but it is bigger, heavier, and has more holes. You dink the ball over the net, play to 11, and have to win by two points.
To bring pickleball courts to Syracuse, the community needs to raise half the cost on their own. The city intends to match what is raised dollar for dollar and the combined total will be enough to make the courts happen. Kellie Burtenshaw and the pickleball committee are spearheading the efforts to bring courts to Syracuse and they have raised $66K as of Nov. 16, 2019 and they hope to reach $120K. They have had several fundraisers so far and in December they will have an online auction followed by a Polar Paddle Battle in January. To stay in the loop with dates and details, join the Syracuse Pickleball facebook page.
Kellie and her friend Heather Mickey first attempted pickleball in June 2019 and Kellie has seen in a short time what a good thing it can be for a community. “The culture of pickleball is so inclusive.” She said if you just show up to a court with a paddle and want to play, you’ll more than likely be invited to join a game. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a different race, a young kid, or at a different phase of life, we can still go play pickelball together.” One of her favorite seniors who pay is a gentleman who doesn’t let an oxygen mask backpack keep him from slamming and dinking on the court. She said “I like playing with older players because they can kick the tar out of you if they play wise.” Up until lately pickleball was an elderly sport, but that is changing. Youth fill the outdoor courts every evening in neighboring cities. Syracuse High School has a pickleball club and even Kellie’s 6 year old plays when she takes her family out.
During the summer she took her family to go play in Roy and Kaysville and meet a lot of Syracuse people. They were making friends with their Syracuse neighbors 30 minutes away in a different city. This got her thinking Syracuse needs its own courts and there has been abundant support as she and other community members have rallied together to make it happen.
Another supporter of the cause is Brandt Bennett who is the maker of Bison Paddles. He makes the paddles right here in Davis County and he sells them at cost to Kellie. She sells them for $45 each or two for $80 and all the profits go directly to the pickleball courts fund. You can reach out to Kellie on the Syracuse pickleball page if you want to buy one.
Kaysville has recently brought pickleball courts to their city and Kellie has done research trying to figure out how they made it happen so she and the pickleball community can replicate it in Syracuse. “Kaysville had a lot of people and companies who donated different parts of the courts including nets and fencing. It helped a lot.” She hopes businesses that support Syracuse will donate parts of the courts in a similar fashion.
Want to Donate?
If you’d like to rally for the pickleball cause, cash donations are accepted through Venmo to @Syracusepickleball and the Syracuse Pickleball Charitable account at America First Credit Union.