GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH, ALA.– The City of Gulf Shores is getting ready to build 12 lighted pickleball courts at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex within the next two years after the city council gave the “go-ahead” at a recent meeting.
In an interview with The Mullet Wrapper, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Grant Brown says, “It’s an opportunity we feel strongly needs to move forward both expansion of our recreation opportunities to the northern part of our city. It satisfies a very strong pent-up demand for pickleball and the opportunity to bring in traveling pickleball players in the off-season which is a great advantage for the city.”
The project will cost around $350,000 and will be split with the City of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission.
In the same interview, Brown says, “The number of pickleball facilities that are growing within this region and within the southeast is truly amazing. If we can attract some of those traveling pickleball tournaments, the Gulf Shores Orange Beach Sports Commission is willing to help us fund this. They have committed to 50 percent up to $300,000 funding arrangement. So, if we build 12 pickleball courts that are lighted at our Sportsplex they will help us with the construction costs.”
Michelle Russ, Vice President of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission says that “Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and the city of Gulf Shores’ efforts to build new courts extends our ability to bid on and host more pickleball events. Sports tourism’s economic impact in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach helps our local cities improve and enhance facilities, benefitting both residents and families traveling for events.”
The addition of 12 new pickleball courts will go hand in hand with the already popular destination. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach host beach volleyball tournaments year around—one being the NCAA beach volleyball championships—as well as several softball and baseball tournaments. They also host several high school track and field tournaments, and recently hosted the Alabama High School Athletic Association state championships in 2021.