City of Vicksburg holds ribbon-cutting for pickleball courts

Published 12:23 pm Monday, September 6, 2021

It’s time to play ball — pickleball, that is.

The City of Vicksburg officially opened its state-of-the-art pickleball courts to the public on Saturday morning. Pickleball is a sort of tennis-pingpong hybrid game, played on a court with a wiffle ball and thick paddles. It must be played in doubles, and the game itself originated in 1965.

Since then, it’s become one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. More than 100 people were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the courts, and players ranged from age 11 to 87 and beyond. South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said the number of guests was impressive, but what was more impressive was the places they’d traveled from to attend the event.

“This administration is all about bringing tax dollars to the city, so we don’t have to raise property taxes here,” Monsour said. “What we do is, generate as much revenue as we can through tournament play and by having visitors in our city, staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants.

“Half of these people here today — or more — are from out of town.”

Monsour went on to say the pickleball courts, and the million-dollar tennis facility up the hill at Hall’s Ferry Park, are just the tip of the iceberg for the future of recreation in Vicksburg. The park also has a disc golf range and walking trails, and residents and visitors alike can expect more in the near future, he said.

The groundwork around the courts and renovation to the bathrooms was all done in-house by the City of Vicksburg. According to parks and recreation Maintenance Director Rick Daughtry, seeing his hard work come to life on Saturday meant a great deal — and not using a contractor meant saving taxpayers money.

“The city of Vicksburg poured the concrete around the courts, built the parking lot and redid the bathrooms. We did all that in-house, and we didn’t have to have a contractor,” Daughtry said. “We knew it was going to be good, but we weren’t expecting it to be this many people. It goes to show we’re going to have to build another parking lot soon.”

Another aspect of the pickleball courts, Monsour pointed out, is that it’s not as hard on players as tennis can be at times.

“I played tennis in college and I love the sport of tennis, but my ankle doesn’t allow me to play tennis. But I did get out there and serve and volley a little bit, and I believe my ankle would support (me playing pickleball). If you’re a competitive person and you love playing tennis, pickleball is something you should take on.”