More than 20 people gathered Thursday, Aug. 1, to take advantage of the newest feature at Cloquet’s Sunnyside Park: permanent pickleball courts.

Groups of mostly older adults have been playing on the new permanent courts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings throughout the latter half of the summer.

About four years ago, the city overlayed pickleball courts on top of the two tennis courts at Sunnyside and the group used temporary nets. Earlier this summer, the city spent $25,000 to resurface and repaint the courts. Instead of returning to the old format of two tennis courts, the city painted one of the courts to be four pickleball courts with permanent nets.

Bill Hoffman, a senior player who worked with the Cloquet City Council and Parks Commission to get the work done, thanked the two entities for their support and making the permanent courts possible. He said pickleball is among the fastest growing outdoor sports in the U.S.

Kristy Killian serves while playing pickleball Thursday, Aug. 1, at Sunnyside Park in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)
Kristy Killian serves while playing pickleball Thursday, Aug. 1, at Sunnyside Park in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)

Pickleball is particularly popular with older adults, especially those that once played tennis but find the larger courts hard to cover as they’ve aged.

Kristy Killian said the courts have been well-used since the work was finished and hoped even more people would start playing.

“I wish more people would show up,” she said. “We really need more young people.”

Killian also noted that there is another group for advanced players starting Wednesdays from 9-11 a.m.

Bill Hoffman (left) returns a shot while playing pickleball with partner Neil Nemmers Thursday, Aug. 1, at the new permanent pickleball courts at Sunnyside Park in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)
Bill Hoffman (left) returns a shot while playing pickleball with partner Neil Nemmers Thursday, Aug. 1, at the new permanent pickleball courts at Sunnyside Park in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)