Parks and Recreation Department pursues grant to help fund future Mitchell pickleball complex

According to Parks and Recreation Center Kevin Nelson, a future location for pickleball courts has been identified next to the Hitchcock Park tennis courts.

Travis Kriens, of Mitchell, participates in a game of pickleball in July this past summer at Hitchcock Park.
Mitchell Republic file photo

MITCHELL — City leaders are in pursuit of bringing pickleball courts to Mitchell.

On Monday, the Mitchell City Council authorized the Parks and Recreation Department to apply for a South Dakota Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant aimed at helping fund the construction of a pickleball court complex.

According to Parks and Recreation Department Director Kevin Nelson, a future location for pickleball courts has been identified next to Hitchcock Park tennis courts. Recent cost estimates of the project were hovering around $295,000.

“They would be just north of the newest (tennis) courts,” Nelson said of the location where the city has mapped out for future pickleball courts.

Nelson said the plan is to build six pickleball courts. If the project materializes, it would produce the first designated pickleball courts in Mitchell.


As of now, local pickleball players utilize sections of Hitchcock Park tennis courts to play during warmer months of the year. While players are able to utilize the tennis courts, the line spacing and nets are not aligned to pickleball standards.

Pickleball is played with paddles and a perforated ball, which reduces the speed of the game compared to other racquet sports like tennis. The sport requires hand-eye coordination and agility and is popular among all ages.

The Mitchell Pickleball Association hopes to have six pickleball courts at Hitchcock Park in the near future.

Over the past few years, a local pickleball organization has been leading an effort to build pickleball courts in Mitchell. The organization has also been fundraising on its own with the goal of reaching $150,000.

Bonnie Cole, a leader of the Mitchell Pickleball Association, said during a November council meeting that the organization had raised more than $90,000. She called on city leaders to match at least half of the project costs, if the group reaches the $150,000 fundraising mark.

The amount of grant funding the city is seeking for the project hasn’t been stated yet as the council’s action on Monday allowed the Parks and Recreation Department to begin the application process.

Nelson anticipates receiving an update on whether any grant funding was awarded for the project in June.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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