The Vernon Pickleball Association has its sights set on a new facility at its world-class site on Marshall Fields, pending some support from the city.
The association says membership has grown significantly since the pickleball courts were completed in 2018 and a $1.2 million campaign to put a roof over them came to fruition in 2021.
The club has seen 159 per cent growth in the past three years and currently has 950 members, up from 400 members in 2020, and a waiting list of more than 100 people. The club is also seeing 80,000 player hours per year and has attracted major events such as the B.C. Provincial Tournament.
The association is looking to embark on a third phase of the pickleball site after phases one and two resulted in a “very significant positive impact on physical and mental health for a large number of Vernon taxpayers.”
With the growth the club has seen in its first years, the association says it’s time to expand and add more amenities. First and foremost, the association says washrooms need to be added to the site.
There is also a need for a separate space for reception, check-in and footwear changing. The association also says members want more common areas, inside and outside.
The association is proposing the Herrman House, named after its founding member. The Herrman House would be a 2,000 square-foot building located to the right of the front garage door at the Marshall Fields facility. The building would include a reception area with social space, a club manager office, a meeting space, washrooms, footwear changing space and an outdoor social plaza.
The estimated cost of the building is $700,000. The association says members and the club could contribute $500,000, and it’s asking the city to contribute the remaining $200,000.
“In spite of mammoth and unique efforts by membership, we need a little city help to finish the project,” said Vernon Pickleball Association board president Myron Hocevar. “This is good for Vernon and for the future.”
The association is targeting a July 2023 construction start.
“What you’re asking for is very reasonable,” said Coun. Akbal Mund. “I’m glad you added the washrooms and other items. It’s the right thing to do. Good on you for getting this far, and I hope we can get it (Hermann House) done before the end of summer.”
The pickleball facility will soon be teeming with players as the Vernon Pickleball Association gets set to host B.C.’s first Provincial Pickleball Championship starting Friday, May 12, and running through to Sunday, May 14.
Council is expected to debate the request at its next regular meeting May 23.