North County Recreation District (NCRD) has been awarded $73,800 from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The grant will fund 80 percent of the costs to construct four pickleball courts on the 7th Street lot below the NCRD campus.
The project was started almost two years ago with some initial inquiries from the Nehalem Bay Pickleball Club. They noted they have 60 members and that pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country. There are not enough courts in the area to handle the demand and they offered to help with the grant process and fundraising. To date, they have contributed $10,100 toward the required 20 percent local match, with another $1,400 donated by the Friends of NCRD.
Architect Jim Fanjoy will develop the construction plans for the courts with input from club representatives. Next invitations to bid will be advertised and a contractor selected. Construction is estimated to occur in spring or summer 2020.
Use of the courts by the public will be free but there will be a charge to reserve the courts. The cities of Nehalem, Manzanita, and Wheeler supported this project.
“Pickleball in the three villages area started about 4 years ago with a converted concrete court in Manzanita that we share with basketball players,” said David Gostnell, Nehalem Bay Pickleball board member. “We are excited to be partnering with NCRD to build four state-of-the-art courts in Nehalem that will make this popular sport available to more people in our community, and will attract players from all over.”
“We have a great deal of interest in bringing pickleball here and we are very pleased we are now able to make it happen,” said NCRD Executive Director David Wiegan.
A new NCRD tradition is to ring the recently restored bell at the main entrance of the facility when large grants or donations are received. Four Nehalem Bay Pickleball Club members were the first to ring the bell in celebration of the grant.