There are so many reasons to feel good about our region and the direction we’re heading. Let us count a few: the new, Pikes Peak Summit House; a refurbished Cog Railway resuming operation, and a spectacular pedestrian bridge now connecting America the Beautiful Park to the renovated, pedestrian-friendly Vermijo Avenue.

If you want to crow a little bit about your community, now is the time to do it. Feel free.

Amidst these events and milestones there was another ribbon cutting, more modest but equally noteworthy. Twelve new pickleball courts were dedicated on the south side of Bear Creek Regional Park. The tennis courts they replaced were in rough shape. There wasn’t public funding to replace them, so Pikes Peak Pickleball Association stepped up and contributed $100,000 to resurface the courts. El Pomar Foundation also contributed and El Paso County supplied the rest.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country, attracting players of all ages. The game is fast and fun, but a bit easier on the body than tennis. The smaller court means less running.

PPPA is a remarkable organization. They’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars to support the development of new courts in the region. They advocated for lights at Monument Valley Park to extend the hours of play and attract tournaments which bring dollars into the region.

What strikes me most, is the PPPA members’ willingness to share their passion for the game. They are acutely aware of our area’s limited court opportunities due to the accelerating interest in the sport, but instead of being covetous of their court time, they offer free lessons to beginners! That’s akin to a fisherman sharing their favorite, secret places or a skier revealing the location of powder stashes.

Pickleball players seem to take a broader view of their sport and their goals. Make no mistake, this is world domination. A chicken in every pot, a pickleball paddle in every closet and a pickleball court in every park.

At local tournaments they are fierce competitors, and yet you won’t meet friendlier folks. They carry that “will to win” into park meetings and planning processes and often prevail.

All these recent accomplishments were the result of private-public partnerships. People willing to roll up their sleeves, attend meeting after meeting and make it happen. That same stubborn resolve that took a barren prairie at the foot of a mountain and turned it into a world-class city.

Susan Davies is executive director of the 30-year-old Trails and Open Space Coalition. Send any questions and comments to susan@trailsandopenspaces.org.

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