Michell Cook says money needed to pay back players

Middletown pickleball group raising funds for court renovations

For the last several months, volunteers from the Middletown Pickleball Association have renovated the 10 outdoor courts at Lefferson Park at a cost of about $7,000, said Michell Cook, tournament director. She said members of the group paid for all the supplies and materials and the labor was donated by volunteer players.

After recent fundraising efforts, she said, the group is about $1,000 short of the renovation costs, and she wants to pay back the players who loaned the money to purchase the materials.

The City of Middletown donated the former tennis courts to the association in 2008, but doesn’t provide additional financial support, Cook said. She said the pickleball courts are used seven days a week, weather permitting, by about 30 to 40 players from as far as Centerville and Cincinnati. During inclement weather, the players use courts at the YMCA and local churches, Cook said.

She said Middletown’s 10 courts are the most in the state.

The ninth annual Middletown Senior Pickleball Tournament will be Aug. 5-6 at Lefferson Park. The event is expected to attract 128 players and their families from six states and provide a financial boost for the city, Cook said. She said many of the players are staying in Middletown hotels and will dine in local restaurants.

Tony Brewer, 54, of Middletown, said he was introduced to the sport while visiting his parents, Ron and Carolyn Brewer, who live in Florida.

At the time, Brewer said, he thought pickleball was for “old people.” But now he’s hooked and he’s reaping the benefits of daily exercise, losing 50 pounds, he said.

Cook said pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S.

“It’s here to stay,” she said.

Anyone interested in donating to the Middletown Pickleball Association can send email to Cook through the club’s website.

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