City rec department plans first free and publicly-accessible pickleball courts on Mackinac Island

What’s happening: Pickleball’s seemingly ever-growing wave of popularity is now lapping at the shores of Mackinac Island. It was just this past July when we reported that efforts were underway to clear the logjammed lines of pickleballers in Traverse City with the planned construction of new courts there, and now the City of Mackinac Island is ready to do the same.

What’s planned: The City of Mackinac Island Recreation Department is planning to build three new publicly accessible regulation-size pickleball courts at Great Turtle Park. Plans call to build the courts atop the abandoned skate park there, including the installation of additional fencing, all-weather sports surfacing, and tension netting.

Why it’s important: Pickleball courts are pretty few and far between on the island, with the only discernible option being the courts at Woodlands Activity Center at the Grand Hotel. And while no doubt beautiful, those courts are only free for hotel guests; visitors have to reserve them for an hourly fee. The Great Turtle Park courts will be free and open to the public. That’s even more valuable to island pickleballers as it’s a long swim to find the next closest courts.

How they’re doing it: The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has accepted Mackinac Island’s pickleball project into its Public Spaces Community Places placemaking initiative. Should organizers successfully raise $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign by September 26, the MEDC will grant organizers an additional $50,000 toward the project.

The crowdfunding campaign is being hosted via the Michigan-based Patronicity platform, which is available online.

What they’re saying: “Our community may be small, but we face the challenge of serving a population that significantly grows during the peak season. As a result, a dedicated few often find themselves tasked with multiple fundraising efforts throughout the year,” says Fund Committee Chairperson Kelly Rayment. “However, thanks to the Public Spaces Community Places program by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, even our smaller donors can actively contribute and feel connected to our campaign while playing an essential role in helping us reach our goal.”

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