With cheers and paddles in the air, members of the Sequim Picklers pickleball group celebrated on Monday night construction moving forward on eight new courts in Carrie Blake Community Park.
The Picklers, who typically send at least one representative to each Sequim city council meeting, packed the council chambers on Dec. 11 awaiting construction contract news.
Councilors unanimously approved a contract 5-0, with Ted Miller excused, for lnterwest Construction Inc. of Burlington to finish building the courts just east of the Sequim Skate Park for a bid of nearly $228,000 including a 5-percent contingency at about $10,600 and $5,000 for surveying and material testing services.
“Everyone is ecstatic,” said Charlie Pugh, vice-president of the Sequim Picklers. “The city council has been with us side by side through this and in June we’re excited to have eight full courts.”
Pugh said in Dec. 2014, pickleball players formed the Pickleball Facilities Committee with the purpose of building courts rather than continue playing on Sequim Community School’s modified basketball courts.
Picklers advocated for new courts because they said the community schools’ courts have cracks and obstructions such as basketball hoops plus, and have to setup and take down nets and posts for each session.
Pugh previously said the new tournament-quality courts will attract larger groups from across the U.S. too.
Over three years, the Picklers raised $217,700 towards the courts including costs for nets and posts to help cover a recent funding gap after a grant did not come through in its full amount.
Four bids for the construction project ranged from Interwest’s lowest bid to about $470,000 with the city’s estimate in the middle of the two. When the new roadway was constructed into the park, an earthen pad was installed for the courts as a way to save money, city staff previously said.
City councilors commended the Picklers for their efforts with Genaveve Starr saying she was impressed with their fundraising abilities and Candace Pratt saying it was “simply amazing.”
Pugh said at the facility committee’s last meeting its board members voted to dissolve since a contract was going to be awarded by city councilors. He anticipates the city hosting a ribbon cutting for the new courts sometime in May or June.
For now, Sequim Picklers continue to play at 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays and Sundays, and 6-9 p.m. Mondays at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St. They also play in the afternoons at the community school almost daily too once school is out.
For more information about the Sequim Picklers, visit www.sequimpicklers.net.