October 16, 2019

Media Contacts:
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Anna Hunter, Marketing and Public Information Superintendent, Department of Recreation & Parks, 410-313-4686

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the county. To meet the growing demand, Howard County’s Department of Recreation & Parks (HCRP) is adding six pickleball courts to Alpha Ridge Park. The new pickleball courts will share space with the park’s target archery range. This area will become a multi-use facility and the pickleball courts will be available when the range is not in use. 

“I want to ensure that Howard County parks are the best possible for all ages and abilities, while meeting the needs of our residents and visitors,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “To stay on the cutting edge of healthy recreation, we have already created Howard County’s first cricket-pitch, the area’s first skills park for mountain bikes, quick-start tennis courts and bocce ball courts. Coming soon, we are constructing competition croquet courts and at least six more pickleball courts. With more options than ever to have fun, Howard County continues to be the best place to play.”

A paddle sport played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net, the County began offering pickleball programs in the summer of 2014. Programs were first held at the Meadowbrook Athletic Complex (MAC). As the demand for places to play grew, HCRP expanded its pickleball program to include drop-in programs at the North Laurel Community Center (Wednesday and Friday mornings) and Gary J. Arthur Community Center (Tuesday and Thursday mornings). The Friday morning drop-in program at North Laurel alone draws an estimated 100 people weekly. In 2017, the County opened its first two outdoor pickleball courts at Atholton Park. HCRP now also offers adult leagues and classes at the MAC, Atholton Park, Hammond Park and Thunder Hill Elementary School, with tournaments played at the MAC. 

“In Howard County, many active, older adults are choosing to stay in the County; and they are asking for more pickleball courts and activities, trips and programs that my department is striving to meet through our new Encore programs,” said Department of Recreation & Parks Director Raul Delerme. “Weather permitting, we hope to break ground on the new courts at Alpha Ridge Park in late spring.”

In addition to the new courts at Alpha Ridge Park, HCRP is also looking at constructing pickleball courts at underutilized space at Atholton, Centennial and Rockburn Branch parks. HCRP is considering creating pickleball courts in the place of the current handball court at Atholton Park, the current skate spot at Centennial Park and adding blended lines to the east basketball court at Rockburn Branch Park. The Recreation and Parks Advisory Board will be holding a public hearing tonight, October 16 at 7:00 p.m. at HCRP’s headquarters, 7120 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia, to consider these plans. For more information on Wednesday’s public hearing, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/advisoryboard

For more information on the County’s Pickleball programs, please visit www.howardcountymd.gov/pickleball

Located off MD 99 in Marriottsville and comprised of 72 acres, Alpha Ridge Park consists of a target archery range (soon to double as six pickleball courts), a regulation-size hockey rink with bleachers, an observatory, two tennis courts, three ball diamonds, two multipurpose fields, two playgrounds and two picnic pavilions. For more information about Alpha Ridge Park, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/alpharidgepark.

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