Avent courts may change to pickleball

Published 8:00 am Monday, February 27, 2023

The Oxford Mayor and Board of Aldermen agreed at their Tuesday meeting to study a proposal to turn the tennis courts at Avent Park into pickleball courts. 

The board heard ideas from the newly formed Pickleball Association of Oxford and the Park Commission about their effort to make the current courts into 12 pickleball surfaces.

No motion for change was made, but there was positive communication between OPC, local  pickleball players, and the members of the Board.  Getting quotes for the cost of changing the courts and means of fundraising were discussed. 

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The game of pickleball has grown throughout the country and is quickly growing in popularity in the city of Oxford. At Avent Park there are often groups of people waiting to use the courts, which have temporarily been converted to pickleball courts. 

Recreational pickleball is enjoyed by people of all ages, but there are also league and tournament events that some cities have included in their tourism and entertainment packages.

According to OPC Director Seth Gaines, changing the courts could bring visitors to the city through pickleball tournaments. One of the examples explained to the board was how the neighboring City of Tupelo holds its own tournaments.

Gaines said converting the current tennis courts from a temporary facility to a permanent one would show the city’s commitment to moving forward and looking longterm for pickleball activities.

In its memo to the Board, the OPC asked for support from the Board of Aldermen to request permission to solicit and accept quotes for the conversion to continue in converting these courts to permanent pickleball. 

Quotes for the work would be obtained by the OPC director, brought back to the OPC board before coming back to the Board of Aldermen.