Belle Fourche moves forward with repurposing Gay Park courts for pickleball

The tennis courts at Gay Park, pictured here, will soon be retrofitted to pickleball courts to offer outdoor sporting opportunities in Belle Fourche. Pioneer photo by Lacey Peterson

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BELLE FOURCHE –– Belle Fourche will soon be outfitted with an outdoor pickleball court at Gay Park on the north end of Belle Fourche.

“We received quite a bit of community input with this,” Mayor Gloria Landphere said. “I would like to see this sport in Belle Fourche 12 months out of the year.”

The city intends to take the two tennis courts located at Thomas C. Gay Memorial Park, commonly referred to as Gay Park located just to the east of North Park Elementary in Belle Fourche, and retrofit them to accommodate pickleball. 

The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) website describes that the sport combines certain elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It can be played indoors or outdoors, singles or doubles, on a 20-by-44-foot court, striped similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a seven-foot non-volley zone in front of the net, which is referred to as the “kitchen.” The court also includes a slightly modified tennis net, set at 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. Players use paddles to hit the plastic ball with holes, similar to a whiffle ball.

Landphere said she and Public Works Director Dirk Hoffman worked together in the planning of the project, projecting the cost to the city to be under $5,000. Hoffman said he has some wiggle room within the public works departmental budget to fund the project.

“And that is the paint, poles, and the nets,” Landphere said. 

With the playground equipment, barbeque grill, covered shelter, and optimal parking, she said that she felt made Gay Park a great option to offer outdoor pickleball opportunities to Belle Fourche.

Hoffman said his department would order the materials immediately and get going on the work as soon as possible.

The council unanimously voted to approve the project. Councilwoman Annie Reich was absent from Monday’s meeting. 

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