LETTER: Via lesson, pickleball club gets through to Woodbury mayor
Though our mayor, Mary Giuliani-Stephens, is a competitive tennis player in her leisure time, she changed sports for a brief time on the morning of Tuesday, July 18, as she received a pickleball lesson at the Shawnee Park courts from club member DeAnna Renko.
This was the second visit by the mayor — the first in response to letters submitted by pickleball club members Mary Ott and Kathi Pence, requesting more respect from the City of Woodbury with relevance to funding some resurfacing at our courts. Mrs. Stephens stopped by the courts in the middle of a busy morning to see the conditions of the court for herself. After a walk-around, noting court conditions, she expressed interest in a pickleball lesson so she could experience for herself not only the sport of pickleball, but could judge whether there were safety issues because of the deteriorating quality of the Shawnee courts.
About seven years ago, when pickleball began in Woodbury, the six pickleball courts at Shawnee Park were configured from two unused tennis courts. Woodbury became a premier city providing space for their pickleball-playing seniors.
Today, the busy courts are flaking, cracking, and developing deep pits, a concern and a bit of an embarrassment to its 166 members and visiting players from other communities and other states.
After a brief lesson and an introductory game, the mayor, though not an immediate convert, seemed to “relish” the opportunity to play pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the country.