It has been a few months since my last BLOG post, mostly because we've been quite busy with pickleball as St. Louis USAPA Ambassadors, plus several other "hats" we've been wearing with pickleball lately. However, it has come to the time to make one of our major announcements... 15 long months after our first presentation to the St. Louis City 23rd Ward Alderman Joe Vaccaro and Board members of the Tilles Park Neighborhood Association, we are VERY PROUD to say that we have finally "broken ground" on building a multi-court permanent pickleball court!
Tilles Park, located in South St. Louis City on Hampton Ave between Fyler and Marquette Aves. is now constructing a brand new 6-court pickleball surface that will neighbor 1 tennis court and a brand new splash pad fountain system (already completed) to "cool off" quickly on those hot pickleball days. Tilles Park will now be recognized as the first multi-court permanent net pickleball facility in the St. Louis area and a destination for pickleballers in the St. Louis community to play each day of the week!
Ann and I worked diligently with the Alderman Vaccaro, TPNA President Greg Meyer, St. Louis City Parks and Rec Director Greg Hayes, and Parks and Rec Project Manager Dan Skillman throughout the year to finalize plans and funds to start this project along with many other Tilles Park upgrades. We were supported by several pickleball friends and neighbors to help with repairs of the temporary courts including Gloria and Pete Reilly, Steve Altis and Tim Williams. Over 55 volunteer hours were given to prepare the dilapidated tennis courts into safe and proper condition to support organized group play and teach several new players weekly throughout 2015. Throughout our weekly group play, we averaged over 25 players each Thursday evening and showed "decision makers" the great success and healthy benefits of having pickleball at Tilles Park. In June 2016, Ann and I hosted a free week-long Pickleball Summer Camp for Kids at Tilles Park. We had kids ages 8-16 playing each day learning and enjoying pickleball. At the end of the week, we invited the parents to join in the fun and learn/play along side of their children to also enjoy this family game. Finally, on July 25, 2016 construction crews started working on the courts with an estimated completion by Fall 2016.
We know that this is just the start of several other pickleball court projects around St. Louis. USAPA Ambassador Jim Berger is adding more permanent nets to their courts at Jokerst Park down south in Festus, MO. Tower Grove Park Tennis is planning a large construction project this fall, etc. Plus we have other exciting opportunities we are still finalizing but hope to announce soon. In the meantime, I would personally like to thank the folks already mentioned above who were very impactful in helping bring this construction project to it's starting point. We look forward to having a great multi-court facility plus where we can come together as a facility to play, build programs, develop more players, host tournaments, and enjoy the courts.
We look forward to seeing you at ribbon cutting ceremony this fall. Congratulations St. Louis Pickleball community. This is well deserved! Pickleball will put this quaint little South City park on the map as "Tilles Park - the place for St. Louis Pickleballers".