Dick Samp Memorial Park may be getting some upgrades soon that are likely to please pickleball players in Lake Havasu City.
The park currently has four pickleball courts, which were paid for and built by the city in 2017. Rising demand for places to play the fast-growing sport now requires eight additional courts to be built.
The upgrades to the park that are proposed in the the Capital Improvement Plan would include new parking and additional lighting along with the new set of courts. The proposed CIP is awaiting approval by the City Council before it’s set in stone.
In April, the city agreed to fund the new courts, providing that the Lake Havasu CIty Pickleball Association put $100,000 toward the cost.
“That was huge, that $100,000. They weren’t even going to put us in the budget,” said Rodney Windhorst, public relations chairman of LHCPBA. “When we told them that we had these funds, they said no one has ever asked for something and actually given funds for it.”
The total funding necessary for the project, as outlined in the proposed CIP, is $713,750, including the $100,000 to be collected by the LHCPBA. Its estimated completion time would be one year.
To raise funds for future court construction, LHCPBA created the nonprofit organization Lake Havasu Courts, allowing them to raise money using tax-advantaged donations.
They’re on trend to hit their goal, and still looking for donations. They hope to raise the necessary money by July. As of this week, they’re close to $76 thousand, according to LHCPBA Resources Committee Chair Janie Morris.
“There’s a lot of amenities that go with it that we pay for ourselves as an association, like bleachers,” Morris said. She’s in charge of handling the community donations, and she visits with businesses and community members that might be interested in helping out on behalf of the association.
With such a large pickleball presence in Lake Havasu City, and with the sport itself growing nationwide, the demand for more space to play is great. While the current courts at Dick Samp Memorial Park were certainly celebrated, they still didn’t meet the demand.
“The minute they were done, we were already overcrowded,” Morris said. “People line up and wait for 30 minutes just to get on a court, to play one game, and then they have to rotate back in again.”
As far as public courts in Lake Havasu City go, Windhorst said, “This is it.”
Windhorst also pointed out the benefits of having places to play for visitors, some of which specifically plan stops on their road trips based on where pickleball courts are easily accessible — including Windhorst himself and his wife, Morris.
He said, “Bringing people in for pickleball, which is huge right now — that can bring a lot of people into this city, and they spend money, and everybody benefits.”