NEW: This local community just added a pickleball program

March 02, 2018
Players gather as a new pickleball court is opened at Valencia Isles in Boynton Beach in 2014. The sports continues to grow, with Wellington the latest local municipality to add a program for residents. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Pickleball has come to Wellington.

The sport, which NBC News has called one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S., is a mix of tennis, ping-pong and badminton.

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Wellington followed in the footsteps of other South Florida communities in adapting existing facilities — in this case, the roller hockey rink at Village Park — to create pickleball courts, said Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes. Village officials traveled to several neighboring communities to see how they run their pickleball programs, he added.

“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel if there’s something out there that already works,” Barnes said.

Starting Wednesday, pickleball can be played on the new courts from 9 a.m. to noon. No registration is required. The “open play” session is first-come, first-served, Barnes said. Players need to bring their own paddles and balls.

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The sport tentatively is scheduled for the park from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays; and 4 to 7 p.m. on weekends.

Wellington’s pickleball plans have been in the works for months, Barnes said. The village’s Parks and Recreation Department has received requests for pickleball from residents and visitors over the past few years. Recently, village staff members have enlisted the help of enthusiastic locals to develop a plan and add the sport to Wellington’s recreation lineup.

“I think we’ve made some contacts more recently with folks in the county who are willing and happy to assist with getting a program started in Wellington,” he said.

If the program at Village Park is a success, Barnes said Wellington will consider creating a more permanent home for the sport.