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Dan Nicholas Park opens six pickleball courts

SALISBURY — With any luck, Dan Nicholas Park could become the epicenter of outdoor pickleball in Rowan County.

On Friday, the park opened several pickleball courts for public use. Unlike the indoor basketball courts where the sport is frequently played, the park’s new courts are specifically designed for pickleball, a growing sport that borrows elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. The sport is among the most popular events in the Rowan County Senior Games.

Dan Nicholas Park now has six pickleball courts. Its two tennis courts can also be used for pickleball, said Rowan County Parks and Facilities Director Don Bringle.

The courts will be open when the park is open. October hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. November hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Bringle said the courts will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Within hours of the courts’ opening Friday, several pickleball players began testing them. Angie Newsome-Potter was among the party of players and projected that the courts will be used frequently.

“I’m assuming it’s going to get pretty crowded as the word gets around about what’s here,” Newsome-Potter said.

Dan Nicholas now has the only local outdoor courts specifically designed for pickleball, said Russ Whippenbeck, who played Friday.

Bringle said the Dan Nicholas courts involved two weeks of work and about $14,000 in funding. The courts are laid out in two rows of three. Tennis nets serve as a divider for the two rows.

Bringle said the county turned tennis courts into pickleball courts because of a lack of use.

“Our tennis courts weren’t really being utilized at all,” Bringle said.

Schools and branches of the YMCA have tennis courts for people who want to play that sport, Bringle said.

Whippenbeck said he mostly plays pickleball indoors, but he enjoys playing outdoors, too.

Newsome-Potter said the outdoor courts will be fun to play on during the spring and fall. In the summer, outdoor games won’t be as enjoyable, she said.

She said the amount of space available could allow adults and their children to play pickleball at the same time. At indoor courts, that’s not always possible because of high demand, she said.

Contact Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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