LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky State Parks announced the grand opening of a new 16 court pickleball complex at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville. Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry, State Parks Commissioner Russ Meyer and Sen. Julie Raque Adams joined members from the Tom Sawyer State Park Foundation and local community for the official ribbon cutting on Saturday, July 17.
“Kentucky has long been a leader in providing outstanding recreation opportunities to its residents and visitors,” said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry. “We recognize how important this pickleball complex is for family recreation as well as its potential to attract guests to the park and bring tourism dollars to the Louisville community.”
As the commonwealth focuses its efforts on building a better Kentucky, investing in the state’s tourism industry continues to be a top priority. Funding for the new pickleball complex is part of an ongoing, bi-partisan effort to invest in Kentucky State Parks by the General Assembly and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“I’m a pickleball and tennis player myself. I know firsthand what a great sport pickleball is and how popular it has become,” said Sen. Julie Raque-Adams. “It made so much sense to provide a facility like this to address the growing demand for the sport and outdoor recreation while also allowing us to invest in our state parks. “E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park is large enough to host regional tournaments and the economic impact of tourism dollars will cover the cost of this investment in no time.”
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and the commonwealth recognized the opportunity we had to position the park to attract sports groups and tournaments to the Louisville travel market. Future plans for the new pickleball complex include sports leagues, tournaments, and family fun nights. Courts will also be available to park guests by reservation.
“We’re pleased to add this new outdoor pickleball complex to the great variety of recreation facilities offered at Kentucky State Parks,” said State Parks Commissioner Russ Meyer. “The pickleball complex at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park is yet another example of how the commonwealth has invested in a recreation project that will drive more visitors to our parks and generate tourism dollars for local economies.”
Following the official ribbon cutting ceremony, the public was able to play on the new courts. As part of the celebration event, vendors offered food, music, raffles and games. The Tom Sawyer State Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides support to the park, hosted a grand opening.
“The Tom Sawyer State Park Foundation Board is glad to host the grand opening event of the new pickleball complex,” said Carol Timmons, foundation board chairman. “I have learned a lot the past few years about the incredible enthusiasm and growing participation in pickleball. It’s a wonderful sport that can be played by all ages from young children to older adults.”
E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park is one of 45 Kentucky state parks that offer a variety of outdoor recreation activities that Kentuckians can enjoy. Park visitors have access to hiking, biking, archery, soccer, pickleball and more.